This tasty roasted delicata squash is a festive vegan dish that’s perfect for any holiday table! With crispy kale, pomegranate arils, and lemon tahini, it’s sure to be a hit.
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When it comes to squash, I like ’em all. Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, you name it, and I’ve probably cooked with it several times.
Except for delicata! I had never tasted this delicious winter squash until I spotted one at the Kingfield Farmers Market at the end of September a couple years ago. As soon as I diced it up, popped it in the oven (and later into my mouth), I knew I had found a new staple for my winter recipes.
What does delicata squash taste like?
This interesting variety of winter squash has a sweet taste that’s reminiscent of sweet potatoes crossed with pumpkin!
Its delicate (delicata?) but delicious flavor makes it a great choice for both sweet and savory dishes, like this Roasted Delicata Squash and Kale with Lemon Tahini!
Once I had my squash for this recipe, I started to brainstorm what vegetables would be a good match for it, and quickly thought of kale. Not raw kale though. No, of course not…a crunchy, crispy version that would make anyone come back for more of this leafy green.
So I settled on a delicata and kale mix, and then I thought: we have some green, why not add some red? And that’s where the pomegranate arils come in. Plus, they add just the perfect hint of sweetness to complement the zesty lemon tahini dressing and roasted delicata squash!
(If you’re dreading the idea of opening a pomegranate and getting the seeds out, don’t worry, you can buy the arils/seeds on their own at the store!)
Where to Buy Delicata Squash
You can purchase delicata squash at most grocery stores and farmers markets throughout the fall and into early winter. I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Cub, and other local stores.
How long will delicata squash keep?
If you store it at room temperature, delicata squash can last about 4 weeks. Be sure to check the squash before using it after this time period, to ensure that the skin is not soggy and there is no mold on it.
Looking for more delicata squash recipes? Check out the Pistachio Crusted Delicata Squash while you’re here!
How to Make Roasted Delicata Squash
This tasty dish requires just a few easy steps, plus whisking together a quick dressing.
- Use a sharp knife to slice off the ends and then slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds (discard or roast them as a snack!), and then slice each squash half into half-moons.
- Transfer the delicata squash slices to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Toss with EVOO, salt, and pepper. Pop in the oven.
- Prepare the kale by removing lacinato kale leaves from their stems and roughly chopping them into pieces. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with a clean towel. Toss in EVOO and transfer to two lined baking sheets. Pop in the oven.
While the veggies are roasting, prepare the dressing and pomegranate seeds.
How long to roast delicata squash
The roasting time for delicata squash depends on how you cut it. Half-moon or circle slices typically take 25-35 minutes to cook at 350 degrees F.
Can you eat the skin of delicata squash?
Yes! Not only is it delicious, but squash skin also provides fiber and other nutrients.
Expert Tips for Roasted Delicata Squash and Kale
- Flip the squash halfway through baking to make sure it cooks evenly.
- To make crispy kale, it’s really important to make sure the leaves do not overlap. You will likely need 3 total baking sheets for this recipe (1 for squash, 2 for kale). Also, make sure the kale is completely dry (use a clean dish towel) before putting it in the oven. Excess water droplets will “steam” the kale and it won’t get crispy.
- Lining your baking sheets with parchment paper will help you get perfectly roasted squash and kale. This is the brand I recommend.
- This is best served right away or within a few hours so the kale stays crispy, but you can make it up to a day before serving. Just keep it in an airtight container and wait to add the dressing until right before you serve it. Leftovers can last for 2-3 days in the fridge.
More Vegan Side Dishes
If you like this roasted delicata squash, you may also enjoy the Vegan Mushroom and Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf or the Savory Roasted Root Vegetables.
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear from you! Rate/review the recipe using the stars on the recipe card and in the comments section.
Roasted Delicata Squash and Kale with Lemon Tahini
- cutting board + knife
- Mixing bowl + whisk
- 1 delicata squash - deseeded and sliced into half-moons
- 4 heaping cups lacinato (dinosaur) kale leaves - washed, dried, and roughly torn (stems removed)
- 3 tablespoon olive oil - divided
- sea salt - to taste
- ground black pepper - to taste
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 cloves garlic - minced or pressed; can add 1-2 more to taste
- 1 lemon - juiced
- ¼ cup water - for thinning, plus more if needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Prepare the delicata squash by slicing it in half lengthwise, scooping out and discarding the seeds (or save them to roast as a snack!), and slicing each half into half moons. Toss the squash in 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to 1 of the lined baking sheets and roast for ~30 minutes or until tender, flipping halfway through.
- Toss the dry kale leaves (make sure they are completely dry) with 2 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to the last 2 lined baking sheets. Make sure the kale pieces do not overlap, to prevent steaming the kale instead of roasting it. You may need more than 2 baking sheets, or you may need to roast the kale in batches. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until crispy (check at 10 minutes to be careful not to burn it). You can do this at the same time that the squash is roasting.
- While the veggies are roasting, whisk together the tahini, garlic, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in water until it gets to your desired consistency.
- When the squash and kale are finished, remove from oven and transfer to a serving dish. Top with pomegranate arils, and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!
- This dish is best served right away or within a couple hours, but it can be made up to a day before. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, and wait to add the dressing until right before you serve it. You can serve it cold or reheated.
- Leftovers can last in the fridge for 2-3 days.
This post was originally published in December 2017 but was updated with new photos and expert tips in December 2019.
Let the holiday recipe season begin!
This was delicious! I had some leftover lacinato kale (OK, I’ll admit it–the kale was leftover because I forgot to put it in a bean soup recipe, but anyway…) so I searched you site for a kale recipe. Delicata squash has evidently just gone out of season, but I substituted butternut, sliced about 1/4 inch thick. I had never purchased, nor used, tahini–so that was fun! Anyway, thanks for expanding my palette!
Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! It’s a great way to try tahini for the first time! And butternut squash sounds like the perfect substitute :-).