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delicata squash + lime tabbouleh


What is it about seasonal change that is so emotional?

This hunch seems especially true for fall, but especially pertinent in my little nook of Canada. Another 6-7 months of briskness is coming. The booties have been dusted off and wooly scarves have cozied around my neck on more than one occasion already. We seem to brace ourselves and turn into each other so readily. The community feels strong wherever cold winds sweep through and my dwelling spaces have been no exception.

I heard a rustle of slowly decaying leaves from the apple tree in the middle of our garden at dusk and I swear it was fraught with emotive… like, vibrational THINGS. You know?! The fallen fruits laying in the dampness, some rotting and sunk in, kind of threw me. I was taken aback by the whole scene. Strange beauty in the cool mud before dark.

Mark and I were in Montreal a couple weekends ago and passing by an old church in the morning hours, I could hear the choir of voices inside just slightly muffled by ages-old bricks and mortar, the congregation’s joy barely contained. I felt like my chest would explode, just walking on by.

I’ve been laughing harder too. So many things giving me that riot of hearty laughs where the sides of your eyes are all misty wet and crinkled from the inability to contain that big, smiling mouth. Just one little gesture or phrase from Mark and I’m senseless with that gasping-for-air-kind of laugh, face blindly pointed to the sky trying to catch a moment, a breath, only to fall into it again.

Needless to say I’m drinking this atmospheric goodness up fairly greedily. That lushness seems abundant all around. I’m gently savoring it in some ways; the slower sipping of morning coffee, lingering over a book or magazine in a warm spot of the house, craving anything that can possibly be roasted or caramelized… In other ways, I’m much more eager to get my fill with a sense of haste; spontaneous road trips, all kinds of indulgence, permitting myself some laziness on a whim. It’s all keeping me in the moment.

My appetite has been pretty strong through all of this, as per usual. I wanted to make something that would serve as a very complete side dish at dinner that could gracefully turn into a perfect lunch addition for a few days longer. Leftovers. I wanted some damn good leftovers to eliminate any  doubt around lunchtime for a bit. We had some gorgeous delicata squash forming in the garden, one of my favourites.

I started thinking about a sort-of tabbouleh salad with roasted squash and super sweet, sun-ripened tomatoes, barely clinging to the dried up vines at this point. Lots of herbs and citrus in the form of a whole lime vinaigrette is in the mix, an awesome technique I’m borrowing from Brooklyn Supper. You get the acidity of the juice and all the fragrance of the zest in a couple little blitzes of the blender. It’s the perfect accompaniment to sweet, roast-y squash, cracked wheat and a bounty of parsley and mint. This comes together so easily once you get the squash roasting, which is completely by design. I wanted to leave you with plenty of time to fill your heart up with the excitement of change and coziness :)


delicata squash and whole lime tabbouleh
vinaigrette from Brooklyn Supper
serves: 6-8
notes: Make sure you let the cooked bulgur cool down completely before tossing it with all of the other ingredients to avoid major grain-clumping. Feel free to use quinoa or millet for a very similar gluten-free option too. Don’t eat grains? Try some cauliflower pilaf technique.

salad:
1 medium delicata squash, split in half lengthwise, seeds removed
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sea salt
black pepper
1 cup dry bulgur
5-6 roma-sized tomatoes, cut into small wedges
8 sprigs flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped roughly
8 sprigs mint, leaves chopped roughly

vinaigrette:
1 lime, halved and chopped into smaller pieces
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/3 cup grapeseed (or olive) oil
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the delicata halves crosswise into 1/2 inch thick half moons. Toss them with the 2 tbsp grapeseed oil, ground coriander, salt and pepper. Arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool.

While squash is roasting, combine bulgur and 1.5 cups water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Add a splash of oil and stir it around at this point to prevent clumping.

Combine the chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, roasted squash and cooked bulgur in a large bowl.

Make the vinaigrette: Combine the chopped lime, garlic clove, water, oil, salt and pepper in a blender pitcher. Blend on medium-high speed until lime is liquified and you have a creamy, homogenous mix. Taste for seasoning.

Pour vinaigrette over vegetables and bulgur. Stir to combine and add any salt or pepper if you like. Serve at room temperature or cold.

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Kittee-Bee Berns27/09/2012 - 11:29 pm

heck, this looks so great i’ll be making this with quinoa just as soon as i get my hands on a delicata. super brilliant

xo
kittee

Hannah28/09/2012 - 12:14 am

Laura this is perfect! Those last sweet tomatoes meet fall’s fairest harbinger, the delicata. I love it. And leftovers, yes, yes.

You can put those seeds in the toaster oven and sprinkle a nice crunchy topping over it all too, you know. Just sayin’ ;)

Kathryn28/09/2012 - 4:18 am

I love this; I feel almost giddy about fall at the moment. As much as I love the summer, I walked home from work last night in the dark and the rain and the cold and I couldn’t believe how happy it was making me. This kind of hearty salad is perfect for this time of year. Delicious.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar28/09/2012 - 11:39 am

This salad is stunning! Awesome photos :)

Stacy28/09/2012 - 12:13 pm

This is a beautiful essay, and, per usual, you have crafted a unique and delicious-looking dish. This is on my dinner list, to be sure!

Kasey28/09/2012 - 3:26 pm

Hi friend! I totally know what you mean about the emotional nature of seasonal change. I absolutely adore this time of year..when the air gets crisp, and the leaves turn, and all those beautiful squashes come into play in our kitchens. This sounds like a fabulous dish -delicata is probably my favorite fall squash! xo

Kelsey28/09/2012 - 10:07 pm

Emotional is right. Holy moley. I can imagine you laughing to the sky, and it makes me smile. One day, one day. This looks crazy good, btw.

sara30/09/2012 - 2:36 am

you! so good! the photos on this one are magnificent, my dear. can’t wait for fall squash foods once it cools down around here!

Jacqui02/10/2012 - 2:24 pm

I’m right there with you on the seasonal mood shift. I’ve been loving it. And this dish is definitely on my must make soon list, I love the list of ingredients!

Cookie and Kate07/10/2012 - 11:06 pm

Gah, so with you on this one. The change in seasons has been an emotional one for me, for sure. I’m not so happy about the brisk weather. I would be very happy eating this salad, however. It looks perfect and I love that you used Elizabeth’s lime vinaigrette technique. That was a great night.

Elisa mcfarlane19/04/2013 - 12:09 pm

Love the fresh look and I am presuming great taste

Reeve25/07/2013 - 7:54 pm

so excited to have found your beautiful blog. I mean, seriously excited! But sad that this recipe isn’t in season right now:( Any suggestions for making a summer version?

Laura Wright26/07/2013 - 8:38 am

Hi Reeve,

Thanks for leaving such a kind note! I would probably grill or roast some summer squash in place of the delicata to make the dish more summer appropriate. :)
-L

Hannah20/09/2013 - 1:45 pm

This looks gorgeous and your words so perfectly describe this time of year!
You say you had this as a side – I’m intrigued what flavours it matched with?

P.s. I love your site so so much thank you for sharing so much deliciousness!x

The Big Salad: November28/11/2013 - 9:39 pm

[…] was inspired by the Delicata Squash Tabbouleh at The First Mess, but ended up making some significant substitutions, such as millet for the […]

[…] First Mess Delicata Squash Tabbouleh – A love letter to the seasonal changes written by Laura, a good gracious greenylicious rock […]

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