OK- let's get one thing out of the way right now: longest.title.ever. That happens sometimes, so let's just go with it.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this salad is the perfect way to freshen up your holiday menu. Chewy wild rice, juicy pomegranate seeds, and golden roasted squash come to life with a combination of fennel, mint and a lively vinaigrette. It has all the components of a traditional holiday side with a more contemporary, healthy twist. You can make it the day before and let it hang out in the fridge. On the day of, just drizzle the vinaigrette over the top, gently toss everything together, and serve! Holiday salad perfection.
This recipe came to be thanks to a last-minute call from my husband. He needed a dish to bring to a potluck at work and asked for my help. Of course, it was 5pm the night before the event, so I rushed out to the grocery store without the slightest idea of what I might make. Walking around the produce department helped me remember to focus on seasonal, fresh ingredients, so a delicata squash and fennel bulb were the first things I placed in my basket. The rest just fell into place. That's what I love about seasonal cooking; you don't have to try too hard to make everything work together. The flavors and colors lend themselves well to dishes like this one without feeling forced.
The salad, from what my husband said, was a huge hit. I actually made another batch the next day and ate it all week for lunch. Even with the vinaigrette on it, the salad keeps beautifully and gets even more flavorful after a day or two in the fridge. If you haven't signed up for a dish to bring to Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving this year, I highly recommend whipping this simple salad up for your family and friends!
Beautiful food worth setting the table for.
Roasted Squash & Wild Rice Salad with Fennel, Mint & Pomegranate
Makes 6-8 servings
- 1 medium delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced using a mandoline
- 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves
- 1/4 up fennel fronds
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/3 cup toasted pecan halves, roughly chopped
- two 8 oz bags pre-cooked wild rice (you can also use bulgur wheat or quinoa)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Arrange the delicata squash on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the sliced into a single layer and roast for 12-15 minutes or until tender and just turning golden.
- Meanwhile, heat the wild rice according to the package directions. Transfer to a large serving bowl and let cool.
- Top the rice with the squash, fennel, pomegranate seeds, pecans, mint, and fennel fronds.
- In a small jar, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic clove, honey, salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly with a lid and shake to combine.
- Cover the salad and refrigerate until ready to serve, or drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.