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Roasted Delicata Salad with Avocado Dressing

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In autumn, Lauren Dwyer, owner of Maplewood’s The Laurel (175 Maplewood Avenue), loves delicata squash. “It has to be one of the most underrated foods of autumn,” she says. “It’s overshadowed by the acorns, butternuts, and kabochas. Like other squash it tastes best roasted, but the difference with delicata is that the skin is edible and delicious! I love to thinly slice delicata into moon-like crescents and roast them until they’re crunchy and sweet. Now these are a perfect healthy snack on their own, but they really shine in salads.” She shares one of her fabulous recipes.

Serves 4- 6

Salad:
4 cups mixed greens, washed and dried
1 pound delicata squash, halved, seeds removed, and thinly sliced crosswise
2 fresno peppers, julienned
2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
olive oil
paprika
cumin
sea salt
pepper

Dressing:
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (or less depending on how hot it is)
1 handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/2 small shallot, minced
drizzle of honey, to taste
pinch of sea salt, to taste
water, as needed


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Slice squash into thin crescents and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil to coat and sprinkle with paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Arrange squash on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, turning half way through. Keep an eye on them during the last 5 minutes, as they burn easily.

While your squash is roasting, start on the salad dressing. In the same medium bowl, combine all ingredients except avocado. Cut the avocado in half. Scoop out one half, add it to the mixture, and blend until smooth. Add water to thin the dressing to your desired consistency. Dice the remaining half of the avocado and add it the dressing.

Combine mixed greens, delicata squash, fresno peppers, sunflower seeds, and queso fresco and toss with dressing. Enjoy!