Roasted Kabocha and Avocado Salad with Pear Vinaigrette
I’m starting to notice a bit of a trend here… Vacations seem to spark ideas that get the creative juices flowing. Whenever we’re getting ready to pack up and go on a road trip we know there’s a lot of food in our kitchen that we’ll be bringing with us, but there’s also a lot of food that just won’t travel well. So in those days leading up to a road trip, that’s when you gotta decide to either use it or lose it.
A couple nights before we were about to head out on our last trip, I wanted to cook some stuff to make sure things wouldn’t go to waste, but I was busy with packing and other things and didn’t want to make something with too much effort. I had a kabocha squash that had been sitting on my counter for a while so I decided to just go ahead and roast it. It was as simple as cutting, scooping, and tossing it in the oven, so why not? Twenty minutes later I took it out and just left it on the stove until dinnertime.
I hadn’t decided how or with what to eat it, so I started looking around the kitchen for some more perishables. I had a fruit bowl filled with bananas, apples, and a couple of pears. The bananas would get frozen (for smoothies and nicecream, duh) and the apples would come along for the ride, but the pears definitely weren’t going to travel well—ripe pears are so delicate, they’d end up as nothing more than a mushy, sticky mess… No thanks… Then I noticed a bunch of ripe avocados. We don’t usually have any trouble with avocados getting eaten around here, but there were probably more than we could eat in just two days. And avocados on the road, no thank you. Just like the pears, they’re delicate and once they get tossed around and bruised a bit they just become a stinky mess. Then there were the pomegranate arils from Costco. It seemed like no matter how much we were eating them and eating them, it didn’t make a dent in their abundance. At this point I’ve been adding them to pretty much everything, so yea, they’d get included into this too. And there would still be plenty left to take on the trip. Thank you, Costco.
So with the pears, avocados, and pomegranate arils in hand, I decided instead of reheating the roasted squash, I’d just cut it up and make it into a salad. I ended up being really excited about this dish, not only because it was delicious, but also because a salad was a really welcomed break from all the soups and other warm dinners we’ve been having lately. With all the gourds in season, I feel like salads kind of get overlooked during the fall, but there are really great ways to incorporate seasonal fall produce into salads like this one. The nuttiness from the squash and avocado pair really well with the tart sweetness from the pomegranate arils and the pear vinaigrette. And I just love the crunch factor that the arils bring to the otherwise tender dish. Another really great thing about this dish is that it’s so quick and easy to make!
|Servings||Prep Time||Cook Time||Total Time|
|4||5 mins.||20 mins.||25 mins.|
- 1 Kabocha Squash, approximately 3 ½ lbs.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Haas avocados
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- ½ a red pear, peeled
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut Kabocha squash in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy center. Season each half of the squash with olive, salt, and pepper. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, until just fork tender. You don’t want it too tender so that it will hold up when tossed together with the avocado and vinaigrette.
- Allow the squash to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the flesh of the squash. It should peel off rather easily, but if some spots are tough to peel, use a pairing knife to scrape away the skin.
- Dice kabocha squash into ½ inch chunks and transfer to a medium size mixing bowl. Dice avocado similarly in size to the squash and add to the bowl. Add ½ cup of pomegranate arils to the bowl. Set aside.
- Combine pear, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup and Dijon mustard in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
- Pour vinaigrette over the salad and toss together until everything is coated.
- Serve cold or at room temperature and enjoy!