Roasted squash and shallots with pomegranate and dates

Fall foods bring us autumnal color palettes and all the yummy things those entail. Roasted squash comes to mind. Apple and pumpkin pies, too. Let’s not forget orange soups, deep greens, the warm reds of pomegranate or grapefruit studding a salad, caramelized edges, and blackened bits. This roasted vegetable salad is a variation of a popular recipe from chef Yotam Ottolenghi. I have changed the sauce to make it even more acidic and bright. Use the za’atar spice blend (a Middle Eastern mixture of dried herbs, sumac, sesame seeds, salt and other spices) if you can find it, or try other warming spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and allspice. This salad is a delicious, colorful accompaniment to any fall table.

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 20

Ingredients

  • 1/2 delicata squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 kabocha squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 butternut squash (the bulbous end), halved and seeded
  • 6 large shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tiny piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 pomegranate, or small handful of pomegranate seeds
  • 6 medjool dates, seeded and quartered
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar spice (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Leaving the skins on the squashes, slice them crosswise into one-inch wedges. Feel free to use only butternut squash if you like (but use a large one). Combine the squash and peeled chunks of shallots, then toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Roast in the oven on a large baking sheet for about 40 minutes, or until the squash and shallots are caramelized with blackened edges here and there.
  3. While the squash is in the oven, mince the garlic and ginger together, then mash them into a paste by smooshing the minced ingredients with the side of your knife against the cutting board. Combine the yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and ginger in a small bowl. Add a bit of cold water as needed to make the sauce a consistency you can drizzle.
  4. If you have a whole pomegranate, get the seeds out by first cutting the fruit in half, separating the top from the bottom, then gently whacking the red side of the fruit with a rolling pin while holding it over a bowl of water. You can then further separate the seeds from the pith in the water. Dry the seeds on a paper towel.
  5. Plate everything together on a large serving platter by spreading the squash and shallots around, then drizzle everything with sauce. Garnish with the dates, pomegranate seeds, mint and za’atar spice, if using.

Chef's note: If you can only find butternut squash, go for it! If you use a mix of squash, use the leftovers later in the week in this squash and fennel soup, squash and chickpea curry or kale and roasted vegetable soup.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

(includes 1/2 tsp added salt)

  • Calories: 210
  • Total fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 210 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 38 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Sugars: 25 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Contributor

Benjamin Maring, MD