Roasted Delicata Squash & Wild Rice Salad

Today I bring you this colorful, tasty and wholesome roasted delicata squash & wild rice salad!

A salad that is perrrrrfect for the fall and winter seasons!

This roasted delicata squash & wild rice salad is perfect for cooler weather! With cranberries, pumpkin seeds and a maple mustard dressing!

And while the calendar may say that it’s fall, it kinda sorta feels like winter lately here in North Carolina. {Although, let’s be real. While I grew up in the northeast, I’ve totally become a complete wimp after living in the south for so long.}

But baby, it sure is cold outside! The fireplace is on, slippers are an absolute necessity and cozy blankets are out in full force.

Tis the season for winter-y salads!

Especially ones that are packed with caramelized delicata squash, chewy wild rice, sweet dried cranberries, delightful pumpkin seeds and a maple mustard dressing.

Sweet, savory, crunchy!

It’s the perfect trifecta of salad goodness. And while this dish may be super simple to pull together, it also has a bit of a fancy pants vibe going on.

Which means that it can 100% hold its own at your holiday table. Power to the salad!

Healthy and delicious roasted delicata squash & wild rice salad! Perfect for the holidays or a regular day! With caramelized squash, cranberries & a maple mustard dressing!

So, let’s move along to a few tips & tricks for the recipe:

  1. If you aren’t familiar with delicata squash, have no fear! They’re mild in flavor, most excellent when roasted AND there’s no need to peel (the skin gets nice and tender while cooking). Delicata squash are also smaller in size, which really makes them nice and easy to work with.
  2. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk this salad specifically! First up, let’s chat substitutions. Brown rice would absolutely work instead of the wild rice – just cook according to the package directions. Or really, any grain of choice would play nicely in this dish. Buttt I am totally partial to the wild rice – it just screams holiday season.
  3. Along those lines, I also think walnuts or pecans would be great instead of the pepitas. Or again, really any nut of choice. Andddd while we’re at it – any dried fruit of choice could also be used to replace the cranberries.
  4. If you are planning on serving this salad as a main dish, I’d suggest bulking it up a bit with a protein of choice for topping.
  5. And finally! All the components for this salad can be made in advance. Roast the squash, cook the rice, whisk together the dressing. And then just toss toss toss right before serving!

Salad lovers unite! ♡

Roasted delicata squash & wild rice salad with a maple mustard dressing! Wholesome, simple and excellent for the holidays! Vegan & gluten free!

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Roasted Delicata Squash & Wild Rice Salad

Prep Time:15 minutes

Cook Time:45 minutes

Total Time:1 hour

This roasted delicata squash & wild rice salad is perfect for cooler weather! With cranberries, pumpkin seeds and a maple mustard dressing!

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • ½ cup uncooked wild rice blend, rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 (about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pound) delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups lightly packed baby arugula (or another green of choice)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup raw pepita seeds

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pinch of pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean up!) and set aside.

For the salad:

  1. Add the rice and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat and let simmer gently for about 30 to 45 minutes, until tender. {Start checking the rice around the 30 minute mark to see if it’s done – it should be tender but have a bit of chew. If any liquid remains when the rice is finished cooking, drain.} Let the rice stand covered for 5 minutes. Remove the cover then let cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the halved squash into about ½ inch thick rounds (they should look like half moons). Place on the prepared baking sheet, then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Toss to combine then spread in an even layer. Bake for about 30 minutes, using a spatula to flip once halfway through, until tender and starting to brown. Let the squash cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. To a large bowl, add the cooled rice, the squash, the arugula, cranberries and pepitas. Toss gently to combine.

For the dressing:

  1. In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing until smooth. Pour into the bowl with the salad and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately!

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