Roasted Delicata Squash, Arugula & Fennel Fall Salad.

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Ingredients
– Arugula
– Delicata squash, cut into rounds and scrape out the membrane/seeds
– Fennel, sliced thinly on mandolin
– Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
– Pomegranate, cut open the fruit and break it up with your hands into a bowl filled with water. The white membrane and skin will float to the top of the water, and the seeds will be left. Drain and set the seeds aside.
– Pumpkin seeds, toast in a dry skillet until golden and aromatic. Season with salt, little cumin/sumac while the seeds are hot as the natural released oils will help the seasoning stick.

Marinade/Dressing

– Juice from an orange
– Juice from a lemon
– Olive oil
– Sumac
– Cumin
– Balsamic vinegar
– Pomegranate Molasses
– Salt & cracked black pepper

Instructions

1. Make the marinade/dressing by combining the ingredients. Taste to balance the flavours to your liking.

2. Coat the squash rounds in the marinade and lay them on a baking sheet in an even layer. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Flip the squash over after 20 minutes, basting with more marinade.

3. When the squash is tender and slightly charred let it cool slightly before building the salad. Add the arugula over a big platter or plate and layer over the roasted squash, shaved fennel, parsley, toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle over the rest of the marinade as the salad dressing – ensure to spoon some around the perimeter of the plate to ensure all the vegetables are lightly dressed. ENJOY!

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This warm salad is a healthy and comforting meal to enjoy during these cooler months. While the season for Delicata squash is coming to an end, I’ve been enjoying the last days of its deliciousness! My favourite winter squash, Delicatas are a beautiful pale yellow colour with green stripes. Their small size makes them sweeter  and easier to prep/cook. One can find them at outdoor markets, farmers markets and some health food stores in Quebec between the months of September to November. If you cannot source this special vegetable, any other hearty winter squash will work in this salad, like butternut, Acorn, Buttercup, Kobocha, or Pumpkin – which are readily available all year round. With the exception of spaghetti squash, the skins of winter squash are edible so please do not peel them. Not only are the skins packed with nutrients, but they become crispy and delicious when roasted! All winter squash are a great source of fiber, vitamins A, C, other antioxidants that support a strong immune system. Baking is best cooking method when it comes to winter squash, as it allows the natural sugars to caramelize, creating a crispy exterior and soft interior, while concentrated the nutty flavour of the squash. Adding pumpkin seeds to this salad not only gives a crunchy texture but also provides a source of plant-based protein, iron, calcium and healthy fats – allowing you to feel satiated. The pomegranate seeds give a burst of sweet freshness, crunchy texture, and are packed with vitamins and antioxidants!

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