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Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook
by Kim O'Donnel

When I discovered delicata squash a few years ago, I felt as if I had hit the autumn produce jackpot. Unlike its winter squash brethren, the oblong delicata is thin and thin-skinned, which means it cooks in a fraction of the time. When sliced into rings and roasted, its creamy flesh—often compared to a cross of sweet potato and corn—caramelizes yet takes on a delightfully surprising "meaty" texture that warrants a steak knife.

Paired with garlicky, rosemary-scented white beans and a bed of kale, this is one gorgeous fall trio that can be on the table in just under 45 minutes.

Kitchen Notes: While roasting the squash, prepare the beans and kale. Unlike other varieties of winter squash, which vary greatly in size and weight, the delicata consistently weighs just under a pound and is about 7 inches long. On average, it yields about twelve rings. Have a second squash on hand just in case, and if you don't need it, delicata keep really well in a cool place for a few months.
Makes 4 servings. Amounts can be doubled easily.


    • 1 to 2 delicata squash, cut into 1/2-inch rings, seeds and strings removed
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or great northern beans
    • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • Needles from 1 to 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped finely
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
    • 4 to 5cups Lacinato(a.k.a. Dinosaur), Red Russian, or green curly kale leaves (about 1 bunch), washed thoroughly and dried
    • 1/4 cup olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the squash in a single layer on a baking tray or in an ovenproof dish. Estimate three or four squash rings per serving; cut into the second squash if necessary. Pour the oil into a small dish. With a silicone or pastry brush, apply the vegetable oil to both sides of squash rings, sprinkling both sides with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt as well.

Place in the oven and bake the first side for 10 minutes.

With tongs or a fork, turn the squash rings to their second side. Return the squash to oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and set aside. The skin will soften and is edible (and quite delicious).

Pour the beans into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Transfer to a flat surface—such as a platter, piece of parchment paper, or a baking tray—to dry for a few minutes.

Prepare the kale: With a knife, remove and discard the stems. Finely chop the leaves and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the beans with the garlic, rosemary, pepper flakes, black pepper, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the citrus juice and stir.

Drizzle the oil over the kale, and with tongs, toss to combine. Add the bean mixture and toss to thoroughly coat. Taste a piece of kale for salt, and adjust the seasonings if need be.

Transfer the kale mixture to a baking dish and roast in the oven, tossing with tongs after 5 minutes. Roast for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Spoon the kale mixture onto a plate and place the squash rings all around. They will stand up and beg for a steak knife.


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