I think of this as a perfect winter salad. Creamy kabocha squash adds heft and comfort to the dish, while a tart vinaigrette and pomegranate seeds liven it. You can serve it as a denser appetizer, or as a light meal. —Gena Hamshaw
Large bunch curly kale, stems removed and discarded, torn into bite sized pieces, washed, and spun dry
Small kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin), halved and seeded and cut into 1.5 inch pieces
Olive oil, divided into 1 tbsp and 3 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the squash in 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until golden, stopping halfway through to stir.
While squash is roasting, place the hazelnuts in a shallow baking dish (or a pie pan) and toast in the oven for 4-6 minutes, or until they are golden. Check them frequently and remove them the moment they start to get brown. Once they've cooled a little, chop them roughly and set aside.
Whisk together the remaining olive oil, mustard, lemon, maple syrup, sea salt, and pepper. Pour 3 tbsp over the kale to begin with, and "massage" the kale well with your hands, till it's coated in the dressing and taking on a soft, almost wilted texture. Add the remaining dressing as needed and according to tastes. Add pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts.
Once the squash has finished cooking and has cooled for 10-15 minutes, add it to the salad and serve.
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.