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Roasted Delicata Grain Bowl with Fig Balsamic Dressing

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When it comes to cozy fall dinners, roasted delicata squash is hard to beat. After roasting, it becomes sweet, flavorful, caramelized on the outside, creamy on the inside, and adds such a warm and delightful texture to almost any dish. This easy to make roasted delicata grain bowl has become one of our favorite dishes this time of year. It incorporates some of the best flavors of fall including delicata squash, pomegranate, plum, pumpkin, and fig.
roasted delicata squash grain bowl

What is Delicata Squash and How do You Prepare it?

Delicata squash, commonly referred to as peanut squash, Bohemian squash, or sweet potato squash, is loved for its delicate, edible skin. That’s right, the skin is totally edible so there is no peeling required! This makes delicata a dream come true for squash-lovers who dislike the hassle of peeling other common varieties of squash. So just how do you prepare this lovable, delicious squash? Follow the simple steps below.

how to cut delicata squash

Since you are going to be consuming the skin you will first want to thoroughly wash your squash. I like to use a soft bristled brush with warm water and give it a good scrub. After drying, place your squash on a flat, stable surface and slice off the top and bottom. Stand the squash up on one of the flat ends and carefully, slowly slice down the center so you have two long halves. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Fun fact: the seeds are also edible (just like pumpkin!) so feel free to wash, dry, and roast if your little heart desires.

how to slice delicata squash

Once you have your two halves, place them flesh side down on a cutting board and slice crosswise into 1″ thick half moons.

how to roast delicata

Next, place your squash slices in a bowl. Drizzle with oil of choice and salt and pepper. Other seasonings can be used, but delicata has a very sweet, flavorful taste of its own. A little salt and pepper is really all it needs. Once you have an even light coat of olive oil and salt and pepper it is time to roast! Spread in an even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and follow the recipe for this roasted delicata grain bowl below.

how to massage kale

What is Massaged Kale?

If I could have a soapbox to stand on for one topic and one topic only it would be MASSAGED KALE. I know it sounds weird. I know kale is bitter and rigid and fibrous. But I also know you’re going to LOVE it when you try this easy technique. Once I started preparing my kale this way it quickly became my most favorite base for bowls, salads, grains, and more! After massaging it becomes sweet, tender, and adds a perfect pop of flavor. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be craving kale on the daily.

  • Buy Lacinto Kale, also known as Dinosaur Kale. In contrast to traditional curly kale, it is darker in color, flatter in texture, easier to clean, and sweeter/more mild in taste.
  • Remove the stems. I actually like the stems, but for those newer to their relationships with kale they can be a little to thick, tough, and fibrous.
  • Finely chop. Thinner strips of kale are easier to tenderize when massaging and make for smaller pieces to chew.
  • Oil + Lemon Juice. Aka, the secret sauce. Just a tiny bit of both is the perfect combination to tenderize the kale and add some slip when massaging.
  • Massage!! I know, I know. What type of high maintenance vegetable requires massaging?! But trust me, it’s worth the entire 15-30 seconds it takes, and you will love the result! Simply use your hands to rub the chopped leaves between your fingers and you will quickly feel it soften.

Jackie Akerberg

Author of the Clean Vegan Cookbook, Food Blogger and Recipe Developer from Des Moines, Iowa. 

Jackfruitful Kitchen has proudly been featured in Forks Over Knives, Vegan Bowls, Vegan Food and Living, and DSM Magazine.

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Roasted butternut squash grain bowl

Roasted Delicata Squash Grain Bowl With Fig Balsamic Sauce

A perfect easy to make warm fall salad with caramelized delicata squash, autumn fruits, greens, and a creamy balsamic fig dressing.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4


Delicata Squash

  • 1 medium delicata squash halved lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced into 1" half moons
  • 1 TBSP olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Grain Bowl

  • 1 C brown rice, cooked according to package
  • 1 bunch lacinto kale, stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 4 C baby arugula
  • 1 plum, cubed
  • 2 medjool dates, chopped
  • 1/2 C pomegranate arils
  • 2 TBSP pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 C crispy chickpeas
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley, finely chopped

Creamy Fig Balsamic

  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBSP fig jam
  • 1 TBSP tahini
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2-3 TBSP water, to thin as needed


  • Preheat your oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with olive oil. Set aside
  • Add delicata slices to a bowl and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Arrange in a single layer on your lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Wipe out bowl if necessary (a little olive oil residue is just fine) and add your chopped kale. Drizzle with 1/2 tsp olive oil and lemon juice. Use your hands to massage the kale for 15-30 seconds until it becomes soft and tender. Add in arugula and toss to combine.
  • Distribute greens between 4 serving bowls and top with cooked rice and remaining ingredients.
  • Add ingredients for dressing to a small blender and puree until creamy. Season to taste.
  • Drizzle dressing over bowls and top with roasted squash.
Keyword delicata squash, fall grain bowl, warm salad
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