Thanksgiving is in the air people! I’m VERY excited! I love a day devoted to cooking and sharing a meal with the people you love. Or people you are obligated to come together with once a year. As long as you’re eating. With the change in season comes low – zero waste inspired recipes to make the most of your vegetables. It’s absolutely possible to make a sustainable supper happen with a few impactful dishes. This salad is one of them! A Thanksgiving cauliflower and winter squash salad captures some of my favorite fall flavors and is sure to be a hit with everyone at the table. Unless you don’t like olives and then I can’t help you.
You can use whatever winter squash you have on hand! I used delicata squash from a friend’s garden and kept the skin on. It’s thin enough that it cooks right through. But if you have a squash you end up peeling, like butternut, save those peels in the freezer for your next vegetable stock night. And once you scoop those seeds out, clean the extra pulp off (stick it with the peels in the freezer for stock) and roast them! You can save seeds in the fridge for just about 2 weeks until you’re ready, but honestly, now is as good a time as any for roasted squash seeds.
As for cauliflower, buying this cruciferous veg without plastic wrap is almost impossible at the grocery store. However, purchasing from your local farmer’s market vendor is almost certainly plastic wrap free! You can ask vendors for any extra cauliflower leaves they might have! Perfect for making these roasted cauliflower leaves or cauliflower side slaw. It’s all very exciting over here.
What makes this salad so delicious is the salty olive-y, shallot-y, red wine vinegar-y goodness. The hearty flavor of the cauliflower and squash are perfectly contrasted by bright, acidic kicks – making a salad that you may very well just call the main dish. I can’t wait for you to try this one!
A warm, fall salad full of hearty squash, cauliflower, and contrasted with bright acidic hits.
- 1/2 1/2 cauliflower head (including stem)
- 1 winter squash, I used delicata (you can keep the skin on with this variety!)
- 4 - 5 kale leaves or other preferred leafy green
- 1 tomato
- 5 - 6 fresh olives (if you have access to an olive bar, BYOC- Bring Your Own Container)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (from bulk section)
- a few handfuls of salt (for salting water)
- 8 - 10 cups water for boiling
- 1 medium shallot
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Bring approx 8 cups of heavily salted water to a boil. While water is boiling, slice winter squash in half and scoop out seeds (reserve for roasted seeds later on!), roughly chop cauliflower and winter squash into cubes. Once water has boiled, drop in cauliflower and squash. Lower water temperature and boil for 12 - 15 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce through.
Wash and chop kale (including stems) and tomato and place in large salad bowl. Slice olives and add to bowl. Add in sunflower seeds.
Mince or finely chop shallot over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes or until translucent. Add to small bowl and add in 1:1 parts olive oil and red wine vinegar. Depending on your preference you might want to increase vinegar for a bit more kick. Mix thoroughly.
Once cauliflower and squash are finished, strain off water. Add to vegetable mixture in salad bowl and stir. If water was properly salted there’s no need to add extra salt.
Add in dressing and mix together all ingredients until evenly coated.
Enjoy! This is a great fall inspired recipe and will keep for several days in the fridge.
Let us know if you’re thinking about having this at your Thanksgiving table!