Squash and Fig Salad

squash and fig salad

Fall offers a bounty of seasonal produce that help inspire creativity in the kitchen. From pumpkins and squash, to celery and bitter greens, to figs and apples, there’s no end to taste delights from fall ingredients. Our seasonally vibrant Roasted Squash and Fig salad recipe truly highlights those comforting delicious flavors of fall in a beautifully nutritious warm salad that can be enjoyed as a side dish or main course. This easy-to-make salad features roasted caramelized Delicata squash and figs that are balanced by the tartness of pomegranate seeds, the peppery freshness of arugula, the earthy crunch of walnuts and the creaminess of goat cheese. The Delicata squash has a natural sweet buttery flavor, and a  “delicate” skin that you do not have to peel before roasting. Once the squash and figs are roasted, all that is left to do is toss the remaining ingredients together and top with a simple cider vinaigrette, which adds warming notes of orange zest and fresh thyme. This dish is guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds while providing your body with abundant immune-boosting nutrients that will come in handy with the winter months upon us.

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 tbsp high heat oil (avocado, coconut or sunflower)
  • 2 medium Delicata squash, sliced into ½ inch thick rounds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 12-16 fresh or dried figs (if dried soak them in warm water for 10 minutes), cut in half
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pomegranate seeds (~1 pomegranate)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 cup goat cheese (optional)

Dressing

  • 1/2 large shallot or 1 small shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil the bottom.
  3. Cut squash into thin 1/2 inch thick rings and using a spoon pull away and discard the fiber and seeds in the center of each ring. Place them on the prepared large baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbsp oil, rub with hands to coat evenly, and place in a single layer with fresh thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with salt and paprika and roast for 10 minutes then flip and add the figs to the baking sheet and drizzle the figs and squash with honey. Roast for another 10 minutes.
  4. While figs and squash are roasting prepare the dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender and pulsing until smooth.
  5. Place the arugula, walnuts, pomegranate seeds on a serving platter or large bowl and crumble goat cheese on top of it.
  6. Once the squash and figs are roasted remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Add warm squash and figs to salad along with caramelized juices.
  8. Toss with dressing and enjoy!

This salad also tastes great topped with beans, fish, shrimp or chicken.

Nutrient highlights

Delicata Squash: Helps keep our eyes and skin healthy due to high amounts of carotenoids that have also been shown to help prevent the development of certain cancers. It is also packed full of fiber to help prevent constipation. It contains essential antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and boost your immune system.

FigsVery high in potassium to help maintain balanced blood pressure. Also high amounts of antioxidants to neutralize harmful free radicals leading to anticancer effects. Will promote skin and bone health due to high amounts of calcium and magnesium. Also high amounts of fiber for a healthy digestion.

Pomegranates: Good source of vitamin C, protective benefits against bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.

Arugula: Greens such as kale, spinach, collards, mustard greens, arugula, and chard have been shown to protect bones from osteoporosis, reduce inflammation, support a healthy gut, strengthen the immune system, protect cognition and supply a high amount of antioxidants.  They are considered to be among some of the best anticancer foods.

Walnuts: Great source of plant-based protein, fiber and healthy fats, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve overall health.

Citrus juice and zest: Packed full of a multitude of nutrients such as vitamin C, flavonoids, and fiber, which aid in vascular protection, reduced inflammation, improved gastrointestinal function and health, and can play a role in preventing diabetes, cancer, and neurological disease.

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