This delicata squash salad with persimmons is the perfect seasonal addition to your Thanksgiving spread or fall dinner. Vegan & gluten-free.
I fell hard for persimmons about 10 years ago.
I saw the squat, peach-colored fruit at the supermarket, and picked one up on a whim. I enjoy buying fruits at the grocery store that I’ve never seen before, and giving them a try.
It often works out well for me. That’s the way I was introduced to beloved fruits like figs and rambutan.
The flavor of a persimmon is somewhere between a peach and a pear. And like a pear, the fuyu persimmon can be eaten while it’s crunchy or after it has ripened and become soft and juicy inside.
Eaten in hand like an apple, it can be devoured in its entirety, except for the occasional seeds and greenery on top.
The key, though, is picking the right persimmon.
Two kinds of persimmons: Fuyu & hachiya
See, what I didn’t know all those years ago is that there are two kinds of persimmons – the fuyu that I’ve discussed here, and hachiya.
To tell the difference between the two, note that the fuyu is flat bottomed. The hachiya is heart-shaped.
(I’m holding a fuyu persimmon in the picture above.)
The first year that I got into persimmons, I went on a walk in my old neighborhood.
I noticed that my neighbor had a persimmon tree. And I was delighted with my good fortune.
I planned to come back that evening when no one was around, climb up on their fence, and pluck one from the tree.
That night, David and I wandered down our darkened neighborhood streets. I grabbed a persimmon, and trotted home, eager to bite into it.
After giving it a thorough wash, I took a bite and was greeted with a mouthful of chalk. The inside of my mouth felt coated and dusty.
Unlike a fuyu which is a delight at any stage of its ripening process, the hachiya has to be overly ripe to be eaten.
A ripe hachiya should feel like a water balloon in your hand. At that point, it can be scooped into and eaten like a fruity pudding.
Let’s just say that after that my neighbor was safe from those hooligans trying to steal their persimmons. I stuck with the store-bought fuyu.
Delicata squash salad with persimmons
In addition to persimmons, today’s salad recipe includes that other fall favorite, delicata squash.
I prefer delicata to other squash, because you don’t need to peel it. There’s no hacking away with a cleaver.
The skin roasts beautifully. And because the delicata is smaller, it’s easy to cut into and remove the seeds.
(See how easy it is to make roasted delicata squash <— here. The post also includes a video.)
I often have roasted delicata squash in the autumn months as a simple side with a sprinkling of rosemary and salt.
Its mild sweetness also works well in tacos, tofu scrambles, and as a pizza topping. (I simply roast the squash first on its own and then use it as an ingredient wherever I desire.)
This beautiful fall salad highlights the essence of the season. Roasted delicata squash, mildly sweet persimmons, and caramelized onions play against the vinegar-based dressing and salty pistachios particularly well.
I’ve been making this persimmon & delicata squash salad for Thanksgiving for the past 8 years or so.
It always goes over well. And it adds some color and freshness to what can be a rather beige affair.
I hope you’ll enjoy a plateful at your autumn gatherings, and take advantage of the best of the season.
Delicata squash salad with persimmons
For the salad
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the top and bottom off the delicata squash and discard them. Cut the squash in half length-wise and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into half moons, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Toss the squash with one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Lay squash pieces evenly across the baking sheet, taking care not to touch or overcrowd. Roast squash for 20 minutes, flipping half-way through to evenly roast on both sides.
- While the squash roasts, 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 7 to 10 more minutes, when they are brown and softened, drizzle onions with maple syrup. Fully combine the maple syrup with the onions, and remove from heat.
- In a large salad bowl, toss the roasted delicata squash, caramelized onions, persimmon pieces, baby spring mix, and pistachios. Serve with white wine vinaigrette to drizzle onto each individual portion.
To make vinaigrette
- Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, dried oregano, dried basil, onion granules, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. Shake dressing before using to evenly distribute the spices.