Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could have a dinner party with a group of friends who are eager to bring some tasty, homemade, and plant-based fare? With everything covered from appetizers to desserts, you could enjoy dining from one course to the next, only stopping occasionally to dab your mouth with a cloth napkin or to take a sip of cucumber water. Well, you’re in luck! Today’s post is part of the second annual Virtual Vegan Potluck, a blog circle connecting other bloggers who are eager to bring a course to this online party, which just so happens to fall on World Vegan Day! I hope you’ve brought your appetite! (If you get lost along the way because of broken links, or you’d just like to see a list of everyone participating, head over to Vegan Bloggers Unite.)
While spring & summer are the produce darlings with their tender asparagus and sumptuous berries, fall has a few tricks up its crunchy yellow sleeves. There are two delights that are known to bring a bit of glee to my face and orange to my shopping cart – delicata squash and persimmons.
I’ve talked about delicata squash on my blog a number of times. (The Smoky Black Bean & Delicata Squash Tacos are a particular favorite!) It’s the easygoing member of the squash family. There’s no need to peel. It doesn’t require any strength training regimen to cut through it. It’s happiest with a drizzle of oil and simple roasting on a parchment covered baking sheet. The reward is a delicately sweet squash that is wonderful as a side, in tofu scrambles, or as you’ll see today, in salads.
My other favorite gift of fall is the fuyu persimmon. This squat, tomato-shaped persimmon is not to be confused with its feistier sister, the heart-shaped hachiya persimmon. (That one is a prankster. Eat it before it’s ripe and be prepared to taste something akin to a mouthful of chalk.) The fuyu has a mild sweetness about it that tastes somewhere between a pear and a peach. It’s moist without being overly juicy. It can be eaten while still firm or when it has gotten softer and more ripe. Eat it in hand like an apple, or cut it into slices and be rewarded with a pattern that is reminiscent of a sand dollar.
Today’s salad brings together delicata squash and persimmons with tender, sticky sweet caramelized onions. Drizzle it with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette and sit a while in the sweetness of fall.
Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side
- 1 small delicata squash, sliced into rings 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick, de-seed, remove top with stem & bottom
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 medium-sized yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
- A drizzle of agave syrup
- 1 persimmon (Fuyu), sliced thin
- 3 cups green leaf lettuce, roughly chopped
- 1 batch Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette
- Small handful of pistachios or peanuts
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss delicata squash rings with one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Lay evenly across the baking sheet, taking care not to touch or overcrowd. Roast squash for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the squash half-way through to evenly roast on both sides. (The roasting time will vary, depending on the thickness of the squash.)
Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized skillet to a high medium heat. Add the remaining teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Drop the onion half moons into the pan, separating them into slices. Saute the onions for ten minutes, only moving them with a spatula occasionally. Once they have started to turn brown and crisp, turn the heat to low and continue cooking. After 5-7 more minutes, when they are brown and softened, give a quick squeeze of agave syrup to the onions (about a teaspoon more or less). Fully combine the agave with the onions, and remove from heat.
In a large salad bowl, toss the roasted delicata squash, persimmons, green leaf lettuce, and caramelized onions. Top with a handful of pistachios or peanuts. Serve with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinaigrette to drizzle onto each individual portion.
To continue on with more potluck deliciousness…
There are only a few days left to enter the EZ Tofu Press giveaway! Leave a comment to enter here!