ACORN SQUASH PEAR FENNEL GOAT CHEESE KALE
Not only is this salad absolutely delicious and packed with yummy ingredients, but it’s also incredibly nutritious! The star of this salad, the acorn squash, is a great source of vitamin A. It also provides substantial amounts of vitamin C, B1 & B6, an diety fiber. And, even better, it’s sooo tasty! Roasting the squash allows its edges to caramelize, enhancing the squash’s sweetness and creating a wonderful nuttiness that adds depth to not just the squash but the salad altogether. The pine nuts, especially, compliment the nuttiness in the squash while the fresh ingredients such as the fennel and pear combat these rich flavors which ultimately creates balance within the salad. Lastly, the goat cheese, I’m tempted to say that the goat cheese is the true star of this dish since its so fricking good. Its saltiness and creaminess is really what makes this salad great. The savoriness ties all the different flavors into a delicious harmony.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 5 oz basic goat cheese
- 1 pear (I used barlett)
- 1/2 bulb of fennel
- 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts
- 1 sprig of fresh sage (about 6 leaves)
- 1/2 bag chopped kale
- 2 tablespoons of any olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of fruity oilive oil (I used the sicilian olive oil from trader joes, but this is optional and regular olive oil works just fine)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 pitted mejoul dates
HOW TO MAKE:
1. **Preheat oven to 400 degrees (you know your oven better than I do, so do whichever setting/temperature that’ll reach 400 degrees)
2. Use a large knife to cut the ends off and then scoop out the seeds with a spoon (discard the seeds however you please).
3. Turn the squash halves over so it’s skin-side up, and slice width-wise so the knife is perpendicular to its ridges.
4. Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil and drizzle with 0.5-1tbsp of generic olive oil. Spread the squash out evenly across the baking sheet like so and drizzle with remaining generic olive oil (approx. 1-1.5tbsp). Let roast at 400 degrees for approximately 20 min or until fork-tender and edges carmelize. For best results, flip over the squash pieces after 10-15 minutes to let both sides carmelize (by carmelize I mean develop a light brown color).
5. While the squash roasts, poor half a bag of ready-to-use chopped kale into a large bowl (about 5-6oz). Any type of kale works!
6. Get your fruity olive oil and drizzle 1 tablespoon onto the kale. Generously salt the kale (use about 1/4 tsp). Then if you havent already, go wash your hands and massage the kale. This step will make the kale much easier to chew and allows it to absorb lots if flavor from the oil and salt.
I really like this Sicilian olive oil from trader joes because it’s light and doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste that most olive oils have. Regular generic olive oil will work fine too, there’s no need to go out and buy fancy oil.
7. Give the dates a rough chop, make sure the pieces are small and even in size. Then do the same to the sage, however cut the sage into ultra thin pieces. Add to bowl and mix in with the kale.
Although it’s delicious and gives dishes rich flavor, sage is a pungent herb so a small amount goes a long way. If someone gets too big of a piece in their bite, it’ll ruin their entire eating experience; so, thinly slice!
8. Take squash out of oven and let cool.
9. Chop the pear & fennel! Make sure the pear is ripe, and cut it into cubes (about 1/4in x 1/4in). Cut off the top and bottom of the fennel and cut in half. Cut the half in half and slice as thin as possible! Add to kale once chopped.
10. Crumble 1/2 of goat cheese packet (2.5 oz) into salad. Add pine nuts and squash. Gently toss everything together, salt to taste, and it’s ready to serve!
Plate and enjoy 🙂
I hope you ENJOYED THIS RECIPE! I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR FEEDBACK. COMMENT YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW <3