• Posted by Califia Suntree on September 29th, 2014, 10:15 AM

    I actually wore socks this week, so I know that summer is officially over. Here in Portland, the cozy darknesss has set in—as has the rain—and I’m so pleased to finally be using my oven again. The first thing baked: tender delicata squash especially for this autumnal lunch salad. The kale marinates in the sweet balsamic dressing until lunch hour and loses its bitterness, while the seckel pear—diminutive and sweet—keeps its shape and doesn’t brown thanks to the vinegar. The delicata is an especially nutty, mild squash with beautifully striped edible skin; if it’s not a fall favorite yet, it will be soon. And Oregon hazelnuts make everything crunchy and fancy. Another harbinger of fall? Halloween candy. Hey, you can’t be too pure.

    I packed the salad in my favorite Glasslock leak-proof container paired with To-Go Ware‘s brilliant bamboo cutlery. Find these and other lunch-gear recommendations, plus more than 60 recipes for healthy and delicious lunches, in my brand-new e-cookbook Bring Your Lunch!

    Kale Salad with Delicata Squash, Seckel Pear & Hazelnuts

    Makes 1 serving

    2 cups shredded curly kale
    1 seckel pear, cored and sliced
    3/4 cup sliced roasted delicata squash (see note)
    1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    Salt & black pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1. In your favorite leak-proof  salad container, combine the kale, pear, delicata slices and hazelnuts.

    2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, stirring briskly with a fork until combined.

    3. Pour the dressing over the salad, seal the lid, and shake vigorously to toss. The salad can be eaten right away, but is best after about 3 hours.

    Note: To make the roasted delicata squash: Preheat oven to 400° F. Rinse and dry 1 whole, small delicata squash (about 8 ounces). With a large chef’s knife, cut off the ends and then split the squash in half lengthwise. With a sturdy teaspoon, scrape out the seeds and strings. Cut each half crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. On a large baking sheet, toss the slices with a generous drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and about 1 tablespoon of raw or light-brown sugar. Bake until tender and starting to caramelize, about 25 minutes.

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