Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Sorghum-Tahini Vinaigrette

A fresh fall salad is a healthy addition to your dinner table.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Sorghum-Tahini Vinaigrette
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Melissa Gray; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
Servings:
4

As the weather cools off, butternut squash tends to get all the attention, but this fall, we're highlighting some of the fantastic ways to use lesser-known squash varieties. This Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Sorghum-Tahini Vinaigrette will be the prettiest addition to your autumn table.

Sliced into pretty half-moons, acorn squash is the undeniable star of this cold-weather salad. This humble winter squash is remarkably easy to prepare. When roasted, its skin is edible, which means there's no peeling required. Can we get a hallelujah? In this salad, the roasted acorn squash is tender, complemented by the crisp kale, which maintains a bit of bite. Sunflower seeds offer a nice crunch, while dried cranberries add sweetness. The fresh herbs (parsley and thyme) bring a delightful flavor that makes this acorn squash salad stand out. The vinaigrette hits your palate in three notes: You get acidity from the apple cider vinegar, sweetness from the sorghum syrup, and earthy, nutty flavors from the tahini.

Serve as a side with dinner or enjoy for lunch at work. You could add shredded rotisserie chicken to make this a main-dish salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash

  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise into rings

  • ½ cup plus 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, divided

  • ¼ cup sorghum syrup or honey, divided

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

  • 10 cups packed chopped curly kale (from 1 to 2 bunches, stems removed)

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, very thinly sliced

  • ½ cup dried cranberries

  • 3 tablespoons roasted salted sunflower seed kernels

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a sharp knife, slice each acorn squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard stems. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and pulp, and discard. Slice each squash half crosswise into ¾-inch-thick wedges. Toss squash wedges with 1 tablespoon of the oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper in a medium bowl. Arrange squash slices on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast until tender, 30 to 35 minutes, flipping squash halfway through. Remove from oven; cool until ready to use.

  2. While squash are roasting, place shallot slices in a medium-size heatproof bowl, and set aside. Bring ½ cup water, ½ cup of the apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the sorghum syrup, and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a gentle boil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Carefully pour hot brine mixture over shallots, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, whisk together tahini, parsley, thyme, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sorghum, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon pepper until combined. Slowly drizzle remaining 3 tablespoons oil into sorghum mixture, whisking until well combined.

  4. Using tongs, toss together kale and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until well combined and tender, about 2 minutes. Add sorghum vinaigrette, apple slices, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds, and continue tossing until well combined. Divide salad among 4 plates; top with roasted squash wedges and drained pickled shallot rings.

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