I have to be honest, I used to scoff at taking the time to separate squash seeds from flesh and roasting them. Who has time for that? Is it even worth it? The answer: anyone, and yes! I prepped some seeds for shooting this video with our friend Emma Frisch (chef, adventurer, and all around lovely person) and was shocked at how easy and tasty the results were! When I decided to combine our gorgeous fresh spinach with delicata rings, a crispy, smoky topping was in order. You’ll have everything ready by the time the squash comes out of the oven, and most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen.
One of my favorite ways to prep delicata (or even acorn squash) is into rings! Just remove the tops and bottoms, scoop out the seeds, and carefully slice. To get the majority of the seeds and pulp out in one easy clump, use a paring knife to cut all the way around then pull out. Scrape any excess out with a spoon.
The seeds will cook while the squash roasts. I took a tip from Emma and boiled these in salt water before the roast. The results were a puffy, crispy, smoky snack, although you can skip boiling if you feel like. The seeds will still be delicious, just a little different. To wilt the greens just toss them with the warm squash, apple cider vinegar and salt. Garnish and serve!
Delicata Squash Rings & Greens with Smoky Squash Seeds
2 delicata squash
1/2 lb spinach, stems removed, washed and dried
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Preheat oven to 425°F
Prep the squash. Remove the top and bottom of each squash. Use a paring knife to cut around the seeds and pulp, then pull them out. Scrape out any remaining seeds and pulp with a spoon. Reserve the seeds and pulp. You can cut each squash in half so there are smaller sections to work with. Slice into rings, slightly less than 1/2 inch thick.
Bake the squash: Place the squash in a large bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Toss the squash to evenly coat. Arrange squash in an even layer on a baking sheet. (Save the bowl for tossing the salad together, no need to rinse) Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.
Roast the seeds: Separate the seeds from the pulp. Place the seeds in a small saucepan and cover with water. Add a big pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Boil for ten minutes, then drain and pat dry. Toss the seeds with the smoked paprika and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Spread over a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Let cool so the seeds are nice and crispy. Be careful not to overcook.
Wilt the Greens: When the squash is cooked and starting to brown, but not falling apart remove from the oven and place into the large bowl. Add the spinach leaves and toss gently to combine. Season with cider vinegar, then taste and add more olive oil or sea salt if necessary. The spinach should wilt from the heat of the squash. Cover the top of the bowl and let sit for a few minutes to help wilt the squash.
Assemble the salad: Transfer the greens and rings to a platter. Top with toasted seeds.
*store any leftover seeds in a container for snacking