The Dish: Winter Squash Salad with Jalapeño Vinaigrette

A full-palate salad that finishes with a kick.

Best way to build a recipe: start with nothing. No plan. No ingredients. No idea where the flavors will take you. Seasonal, local cooking — like the cuisine of Chef Timmy Malloy, of Local’s Corner — calls for improvisation. You go to the farmers market and see what’s in stock. Four times a week, Malloy does just that. He takes a slow, considered walk around the market, and then he picks his bounty. He builds his menu from what the ground has produced. This swing season, it’s squash, pomegranate, kale, and a few jalapeños — the remnants of summer blending into the heartiness of winter to come. The resultant dish is a full-palate salad that finishes with a kick. A perfect medley for the last days of our Indian summer.

Winter Squash, Kale, and Pomegranate Salad

Serves 2

1 small butternut winter squash, peeled, deseeded, large dice
1/2 bunch of kale, de-stemmed
1 pomegranate
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

2 jalapeños, small chop
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon dijon
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel, de-seed and cut the squash, then place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 3. Place on a large pan and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes — until the squash is just tender (don’t overcook to mushy).
4. While the squash is roasting, prepare the vinaigrette. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and mix into a light dressing. Taste, season with sea salt and pepper, blend once more, and set aside.
5. After squash is cooked, cool for 10-15 minutes until room temperature.
6. Take the de-stemmed kale and give it a rough chop.
7. Slice the red onion, and add all three ingredients into a large bowl.
8. Dress with vinaigrette, and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

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