I like to use tender, light-green escarole hearts in salads such as this one, but don’t disregard the darker and tougher outer leaves! They are perfect for braising, or shredded in soups. This is an ideal dish to make when we’re transitioning from summer to fall, when the fall vegetables are in the market but the days are still warm enough to warrant a salad for dinner.
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 1 large acorn squash, or 2 small delicata squash, quartered, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 escarole hearts, coarsely chopped
- 2-ounce piece ricotta salata
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a baking sheet on the bottom rack. Toss the squash and carrots in a large bowl with the ground fennel and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet, and roast until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Set the bowl aside.
Add the chickpeas to the baking sheet with the squash and carrots, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar and 1 additional tablespoon of the olive oil. Stir to coat everything in the oil on the baking sheet, and continue to roast until the vegetables are browned and tender and the chickpeas have begun to crisp, 8 to 10 minutes more.
While they’re still warm, put the contents of the baking sheet in the bowl used to toss the vegetables. Dress with the remaining tablespoon of the vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the escarole, and toss well. Shred the ricotta salata over top with a vegetable peeler, and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Serve immediately.