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Delicata Squash and Kale Salad with Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette

Kale and Delicata Salad with Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

Kale and Delicata Squash Salad with Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette
Maybe I’m just noticing this because I’m a food blogger, but it seems like people are more obnoxious than ever about food. I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years now and I think the last time I was pushy about it was when I was 15. I don’t try to convert people; I don’t rant on Facebook about how much better my diet is than everyone else’s or post pictures of everything I eat followed by an endless string of hashtags. I don’t make a big deal about it because I’ve learned a lot since those days when I was obnoxious and 15, and I know now that making a big deal about it only makes me look like a jerk and it makes people want to do the opposite of whatever it is I’m doing. There’s a difference between being excited and passionate about the food you eat and being combative about it. What 15-year-old me didn’t realize and 32-year-old me does is that being combative and uppity and self-righteous is an exhausting way to go through life.

I started thinking about all of this because, in coming up with recipe ideas for a vegetarian Thanksgiving, I thought about how food should bring people together, but more and more, it seems to be a source of conflict. There are a whole lot of obnoxious 15-year-olds at the dinner table now and they all want to remind you that if you eat a piece of bread, you’re going to get diabetes; if you put (delicious mushroom!) gravy on your mashed potatoes, you’ll have a heart attack, also, why are you eating mashed potatoes because you should never eat anything white ever. Oh, what’s that? You believe in moderation? MODERATION WILL KILL YOU!

Pomegranate Seeds
So here’s a salad for you. It starts with a bed of massaged kale leaves and it’s topped with roasted delicata squash, pepitas, wheat berries, and pomegranate seeds, then drizzled with a sweet Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette (and if you want, you can make it spicy with a pinch or two of cayenne!). It would be right at home on your table for Thanksgiving, but it makes a good weeknight dinner salad too. Maybe even a post-Thanksgiving detox salad after you’ve stuffed yourself silly with pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes?

It’s a delicious salad, but I’m sure some people will be upset that I put wheat berries in it. And maybe other people will be bothered by the maple syrup in the vinaigrette. Maybe you don’t eat fruit because anything sweet is of the devil. But that’s okay, because then there’s more for me.

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Kale and Delicata Salad with Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette

Kale and Delicata Salad with Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

Massaged kale leaves topped with roasted delicata squash, pomegranate seeds, wheat berries, and pepitas. Perfect for Thanksgiving!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings as a main dish, 6-8 servings as a side 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium delicata squash, seeded, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (use Grade B if you have it)
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • A pinch or two of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 bunches kale leaves (about 1 pound), stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat berries, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup pepitas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ΒΊF.
  2. Toss the delicata squash with a tablespoon of olive oil and transfer it to a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tender and just beginning to brown.
  3. While the squash is cooking, whisk together the remaining olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, maple syrup, orange zest, and cayenne pepper (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place the kale leaves in a large bowl and massage them until they’re wilted and the bitterness is gone. Transfer the kale leaves to a large serving platter. Top with the squash, pomegranate seeds, wheat berries, and pepitas. Serve with the vinaigrette.

Notes

If you’ve never massaged kale before, here’s an article on how to do it.

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109 Comments

  • Reply
    Julia
    November 4, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I agree, my dear…people have been obnoxious about food. Just yesterday, I was at Whole Foods and it seems as though we need to throw punches just to get to the salad bar. Drives me nuts that people can’t be level headed about their food intake as opposed to making it an obsession. {rant over} This salad looks amazing!! Perfect for holiday entertaining!!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Ha! Well, your first mistake was going to Whole Foods on a Sunday. πŸ˜‰ Once I went there on a Friday at 8am–I had the whole store to myself. It was glorious!

  • Reply
    Crista
    November 4, 2013 at 9:02 am

    oh wow, that looks amazing!!!!

  • Reply
    Jennie @themessybakerblog
    November 4, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Prettiest salad ever!

  • Reply
    Martina @ snapshotsandwhatnots
    November 4, 2013 at 9:14 am

    When did food become such a snobby obsession. I remember having a “friend” who criticized every single thing I ate while I was doing weightwatchers “low fat is bad”, “are you allowed to eat chocolate”…etc etc. And yet and yet she’d say the same things back when I was stuffing my face with chocolate, chips and icecream etc. You just can’t win with some people. Now people think I’m a snob because I’m a vegetarian who tries to eat healthy and I get the “oh you’re one of them!” comment…..seriously!!!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      Oh, “low fat is bad” is the new “sugar is the devil.” I have been getting more and more comments like that. And the reason I choose low fat dairy sometimes isn’t because I’m concerned about fat, it’s because lower fat usually means lower calories too! So irritating.

  • Reply
    dixya| food, pleasure, and health
    November 4, 2013 at 9:19 am

    wow we are really talking about thanksgiving already…this salad with wheat berries sounds delicious

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      I know, I can’t believe it’s November!

  • Reply
    Lori @ RecipeGirl
    November 4, 2013 at 9:47 am

    This is just gorgeous! Would love to include w/ my Thanksgiving menu.

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    November 4, 2013 at 10:02 am

    i hear you… people are ridiculous! this sald looks great. im currently obsessed with delicata squash.

  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    November 4, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Food snobs are bad but I’ll tell you what’s worse, food hypocrites. A family member was inspired by our weight loss, came to us for advice and now that he’s lost his 100 lbs, he’s a major food hypocrite. “I chose this restaurant because it’s way less carby than like the Olive Garden or something” and then polished off 4, yes FOUR, bowls of tortilla chips by himself!! I don’t care what you eat or how much of it you eat but there’s nothing more annoying that someone who says they never eat this or that and hashtag clean eating then eat the opposite way every single time you see them. Sorry, see what you did! LOL

    This salad is absolutely gorgeous! I’d definitely put a heapin’ helping of that on my plate!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Yeah, I used to know someone who was a REALLY preachy vegetarian and she would occasionally eat hamburgers. Uhhh. I mean, it’s cool if you want to do that, whatever, but maybe you should be so pushy and obnoxious about not eating meat then?

  • Reply
    Liz
    November 4, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Right on, sistah friend. I find that people’s desire to openly and unsolicitedly criticize others food choices stems from either: 1. a threatened feeling from some kind of percieved judgement on THEIR food choices, 2. an inferiority complex, or 3. they’re just d-bags. I’m not really sure what makes people think its okay to lecture others on their life decisions, but I WISH someone would tell them it’s NOT cool. Live and let live, to each his own, blah blah blah. But seriously, did no one ever teach them The Golden Rule? Would THEY want someone lecturing them on what THEY eat? And you’re right — there is nothing that pushes people into doing the exact OPPOSITE of what you desire than by being obnoxious and preachy about it. What seems to elude most people is the fact that EVERY body is different and constantly changing. What works for some, won’t work for others. What worked for you 10 years ago, may not work for you now. Consequently, what IS working for you now may not always work for you. My diet, though entirely plant-based for over a dozen years, is COMPLETELY different than it was 7 years ago, and I have no illusions that it won’t keep evolving. I’ll listen to my body and eat intuitively, but I’ll also use common sense. People have unneccessarily complicated food and eating and attached so much weight to it (pun not intended) that all the stress and self righteousness is going to harm them much more than eating like complete crap. There’s a way to educate and pass knowledge on to others without being an ass about it.

    Was I just an ass about that? LOL

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Ooh, yes to that first point. I think that’s why a lot of people have attitude with me–because they assume that, because I don’t eat meat, I’m judging them because they do. So they get all obnoxious and crunk with me as a defense mechanism. But also, yes to the second and third point too. A lot of these people really are just d-bags. I think that also, people forget that they are LUCKY to be able to make these choices for themselves because a lot of people don’t have access to organic food, grass-fed butter, etc. So when people act like anyone who’s not eating organic is horrible and doesn’t take care of themselves and is poisoning his/her body, it really irritates me.

  • Reply
    Alysa (InspiredRD)
    November 4, 2013 at 11:12 am

    THE NERVE!!!

    πŸ™‚ This looks amazing. And amen, sister.

  • Reply
    Winnie
    November 4, 2013 at 11:17 am

    OMG I hear you. I am so frustrated by the “moderation will kill you” folks. This salad looks completely fabulous…I am posting one that’s a little similar later today so I am linking to yours πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Yes! And it’s fine for people to believe that, but what puzzles me is their insistence on pushing their beliefs on everyone else. Thanks for the link!

  • Reply
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    November 4, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Your words are so so true! I was just thinking about this exact thing the other day and I agree. You eat what you eat and I’ll do what I do, it’s all good yo! Also, I just had a salad like this at a fancy restaurant and it turned me into a kale lover, boom boom pow!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      I think kale is my favorite salad green. πŸ™‚ It’s so good when it’s massaged!

  • Reply
    Erica
    November 4, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Agreed! Food habits now are more of a trendy hobby than just a simple choice. Each of us needs to make choices that are best for US, that make our bodies feel the best, that fit in with our lifestyles and beliefs, and then we just need to leave it at that! I could go on and on, as this subject drives me nuts, but I’ll stop there and say thanks for this yummy salad recipe! πŸ™‚ I love simple ideas like this one for a good weeknight salad. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      Yes, it really drives me nuts too. I have probably drafted about 5 posts like this and then deleted them before publishing. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate
    November 4, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I could not agree with you more. Everyone makes choices in life and I may not necessarily agree with them, but who am I to tell others how to live their lives? You gotta do what you gotta do.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      Exactly! And why do people care so much what other people do?! Honestly, I don’t think they care at all–I think it makes them feel good about themselves to look down on how other people eat.

  • Reply
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
    November 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    What a beautiful salad! Those ingredients create the perfect palette!

  • Reply
    Anna
    November 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I completely agree on the snobbery! The last time I was obnoxious was when I was 14 and I realized that no one wants to hear about it. Now I pretty much try to avoid the topic because I don’t want to feel like an a-hole when people ask me why I don’t eat meat while they are biting into a hamburger. It’s all about personal choices!

    Also, you HAVE to read this if you haven’t already: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-maclean/surviving-whole-foods_b_3895583.html

    Love your recipes!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      I actually have read that post! πŸ™‚ I love WF, but yeah, that post is hilarious. Maybe we have just had more time to mellow. I hope all these other people chill out a bit soon. I remember how crazy I was when I was a teenager. I used to use a Sharpie to write pro-veg messages on the walls at my high school–ha!

  • Reply
    dishing up the dirt
    November 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Beautiful recipe as always. Just skip the maple syrup and wheat berries on my portion!!! Loved this post!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      I’ll sprinkle some stevia on your portion. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
    November 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Love delicata but can’t seem to find it yet in the local store, can you believe it? πŸ˜€

    I hear you my friend. there’s no need to preach and scream over roof tops. Enjoy food as you please. after all, everyone is responsible for their being πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      I really only see it in stores for a very short period of time. And then it’s gone until next year!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    November 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    So colourful and appetizing!

  • Reply
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    November 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I had a similar salad last week and it was SO good!! Roasted squash in salad is pretty much amazing! This is SO perfect for Fall!

  • Reply
    Deb Oswald
    November 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    It is interesting how food has become a cult-like obsession. People really need to chill the heck out! Sheesh. I’ve been vegetarian for only 2 years, but people act like I have become a member of a remote tribe. I say if you like it, if it doesn”t make you personally ill, if your body feels good after eating it- eat it!
    That salad looks absolutely amazing! I think it will be a perfect fall salad- thanks so much!

    Btw, your blog is one I constantly am referring to and pinning because I am always looking for new vegetarian yummos! πŸ™‚ THANKS for the awesome food

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      It’s funny because when I stopped eating meat, everyone acted like it was such an extreme thing, now my eating habits seem like they’re not extreme enough anymore! πŸ™‚ Thank you for the kind words about OMV too!

  • Reply
    She Rocks Fitness
    November 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    People are obnoxious these days and I think it’s because they can hide behind their social media comments. Or maybe they’re just angry at food, because they aren’t enjoying it like we are. Either way you made me laugh and this recipe looks awesome. Nom Nom!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      Yes! I always tell my husband that I think Facebook has made people ruder. I cringe at the comments I see on there sometimes.

  • Reply
    cynthia
    November 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Your righteous rant was right-on! I will make your recipe wheat berries, maple syrup and all, and I will enjoy it! Maybe I’ll sub rye berries. though.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever had rye berries! I need to see if I can find them. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Melissa, The Daily Veg
    November 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    The first thing I noticed, after the gorgeous salad, were the nifty tongs. Those are great!!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      I think I got them when they were on clearance from Anthropologie. πŸ™‚ I have been waiting for the chance to use them!

  • Reply
    Julie
    November 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Um, I’m totally with you on this. I even find myself going the OTHER way sometimes – “will my vegetarian readers judge me for posting meat recipes?” or “Will this recipe be seen as ‘healthy’ enough?” I think we just all need to be confident in our food choices (for instance, I know that I feel best when I eat a little of everything, including meat), and then work to find the balance between sharing our views and our recipes without being pushy or judgmental. Or will finding that balance kill us, too? πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      Oh yes, sometimes before I post a recipe, I have that sinking feeling–“Someone will complain about the sugar,” “Someone will complain about the corn,” etc. But our blogs are reflections of how we eat and you’re right, we should feel confident in our choices!

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