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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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Thanksgiving is almost here!  I have one more dish that would be a great addition to your holiday menu (it would also work great for Christmas). 

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across some delicata squash at a farmers market in Berkeley Springs.  I usually can't find them locally so I was super excited to plan  a meal around them.  I think they have a milder less sweet taste than acorn or butternut squash.  Although, either of them could be substituted in the dish.  For a "Friendsgiving" potluck I made it with acorn squash and it was just as delicious.  The cook time was just a little longer.


What really gives this salad great texture is the candied pecans.  I like to make mine with a bit of a kick so I add cayenne.  This is one of the healthier and simpler recipes for candying nuts.  I always make extra so I can snack on them.


The pomegranate seeds and arugula really add a brightness that goes so well with the roasted squash.  I finish it all off with a maple mustard vinaigrette.  


Above, I served it alongside my Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts.  What healthy additions will you be adding to your Thanksgiving spread this year?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!


Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Pomegranate and Candied Pecans
Serves 4


1 cup pecans

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp cayenne

2 delicata squash

1-2 tbsp olive oil

5 oz arugula

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

salt, to taste


1 tbsp dijon mustard (I prefer coarse ground)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Champagne or white wine vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup water

salt, to taste

pepper, fresh ground, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Toss the pecans with the maple syrup, cayenne and a pinch of salt.  Spread out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 12-14 minutes.  Until brown and crispy but be careful not to burn.  Once done, set aside to cool.

3. Turn oven to 400°.

4. Cut the squash in half, through the middle (not end to end).  Scoop out all the seeds.  Cut into 1/3 inch slices.

5. Layout slices on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

6. Bake for 25 minutes. 

7. Add all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.

8. After 25 minutes, pull the squash out of the oven and flip the slices.

9.  Return to oven for another 20 minutes or until both sides are browning nicely.

10. Toss arugula with 3 tbsp of the dressing.

11. Top the arugula with the squash, pomegranate seeds, pecans and another 3 tbsp of the dressing. 

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.