Maple Roasted Squash Salad with Kale and Wild Rice

Adapted from Tracy York

Note from the author: This salad holds up well in the fridge for a few days. If serving the day after it’s made, keep the squash in a separate covered container and assemble when ready to serve.


1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 cup wild rice
4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds squash (about one or two acorn, sweet dumpling, or carnival squash - you can use other squash) 
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 bunch Red Russian kale 
1/2 cup purple onion or shallots, thinly sliced into half moons
1 cup pomegranate arils 
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional), shaved or shredded
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup


Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
While the oven is preheating, place the walnuts in a shallow baking dish and toast in the preheating oven for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until the nuts are toasty and fragrant. Cool, rough chop and set aside.
Bring the water and salt to a boil. In a medium sauce pan bring the water and a heavy pinch of salt to a boil. Meanwhile rinse the rice. Once the water is boiling, add the rice. Reduce heat to medium and gently simmer, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes. When done, the rice will be chewy yet tender with many grains split open. Drain any remaining water and set aside in the refrigerator to cool.

While the rice is cooking, trim ends of the squash using a large chef knife. Cut lengthwise in 1/2 and remove and discard seeds. The skin stays on for this squash as it tenderizes as it cooks (it has a nice texture). Cut squash into 1/2 moon shapes at about 1/4 inch -1/2 inch thickness (be consistent in how thick you cut so that they roast up evenly).
Dice the remaining pieces that are not 1/2 moon shapes into cubes about the same thickness as the moon shapes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle olive oil, brown sugar, maple syrup and ground nutmeg over the squash. Toss with hands. Place on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan making sure each piece is flat and roast in oven for about 25 minutes turning squash about half way through cooking. Roast until slightly caramelized. Remove from oven and cool.

Ribbon the kale and then cut into 1 inch – 2 inch pieces. Place in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, add the olive oil, mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and pinch of salt. Whisk well until an emulsion is formed.
Pour 3 tablespoons of dressing over the kale. Set a timer for two minutes and using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale until leaves are tender.

Toss the kale with the cooled wild rice, walnuts, onion, pomegranate arils and parsley and then lay the cooled squash over the top of the salads. Pour the remaining dressing over salad or to taste.
Serve cold with a few grinds of pepper and optional shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese.

To Store:
Store in the fridge for up to three days. Allow to set at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving so the olive oil can soften a bit.