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Gluten-Free Warm Autumn Salad

I really don’t know how pumpkin became the official squash of Fall. Is it because it is the orangest? Because it was voted most likely to have a kooky face carved into its side? Is it because that’s what Cinderella’s castle was made from? There was hold over from a little bibbity-bobbity-boo?

Pumpkin isn’t the only squash in town, even if it does have some lingering magic power. (Like the power to make the entire world go bananas for a latte that can be ordered with just three letters).

Kuri Squash with Quinoa, Fennel & Fig
(I even stuffed one of those “other” squash back in the day before I wrote FrannyCakes…)

There are kuri squash and spaghetti squash. Butternut and buttercup squash. Delicata and fairytale pumpkin. And so very many more.

Warm Autumn Salad with Acorn Squash, Beets, Fennel and Pomegranate | Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Vegan | via FrannyCakes.com

Today, I bring you the humble acorn squash. A green-skinned squash with a yellow-orange flesh, Acorn squash is indigenous to North America and keeps well for several months (so grab some at your local pumpkin farm while the getting is good). It belongs to the same species as zucchini, which makes it more related to summer squashes, even if it is considered a winter squash itself.

This recipe highlights the delicate sweet flavors of the squash, the earthy flavor of the beets and the spice of the fennel. The flavors pop with the addition of pomegranate arils and some fresh herbs.

Warm Autumn Salad with Acorn Squash, Beets, Fennel and Pomegranate | Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Vegan | via FrannyCakes.com

Gluten-Free Warm Autumn Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 4
This recipe, adapted from Jamie Magazine, is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. It is packed full of seasonal flavors and is a perfect sort of comfort food – hearty and healthy.
Ingredients
  • salad
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 4 beets
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds (1 tsp if all you have is ground)
  • 1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked
  • 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 5oz (1 1/4 cups) feta cheese (optional)
  • dressing
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the acorn squash in half and save the seeds to roast later (like pumpkin seeds). Cut each half into quarters, use a sharp knife to peel the pieces away from their skin and arrange in a roasting tray or sheet pan lined with parchment.
  3. Peel beets with a vegetable peeler and halve (small ones) or quarter (large ones) them. You want your pieces of beet to all be about the same size. Place them in the roasting tray. Cut the onion into sixths and tuck between the other vegetables. Remove the fronds from the fennel (if they came with it) and cut each bulb into sixths. Spread around the roasting tray. Drizzle the vegetables with a little olive oil.
  4. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the coriander with a good pinch (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle over the vegetables and toss to coat.
  5. Roast for about 40 minutes, tossing the vegetables about halfway through. The onions and fennel should be soft and golden and just starting to caramelize. The beets should be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a jar with an airtight lid and shake until well mixed.
  7. Toss dressing, roasted vegetables, mint, parsley, pomegranate and feta (if using) to serve.
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