Braised Delicata Salad

This recipe was originally printed in the ‘2022 Local Food Guide for Michigan’


  • 8 pieces delicata squash, braised (see recipe below)
  • 3 Evercrisp or Gala apples, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 oz SarVecchio or Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup fennel, shaved
  • 1/8 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp chives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fennel fronds for garnish
  • Nduja vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Braise delicata squash and make vinaigrette before building salad.

Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss with nduja vinaigrette.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place braised delicata squash down on a plate or bowl and top with apple salad mixture.

Garnish with fennel fronds and extra vinaigrette, if you like.


  • 2 delicata squash, ends cut off, quartered lengthwise, and seeds removed
  • 1½ quarts water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 head of fennel tops, chopped
  • 1 lemon, halved and juiced
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 3 inch piece of ginger, peel and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp whole fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice
  • 3/4 tsp whole fennel seed
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Toast all whole spices on medium heat until fragrant in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently.

Once spices are toasted, add all liquid ingredients, additional spices, herbs, fennel tops, and ginger, and bring to a boil.

While waiting for everything to boil, lay out the delicata in a deep oven-safe braising pan.

When the liquid comes to a boil, pour over top of the squash, cover the pan with foil, and put in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Squash will be done when it’s soft to the touch, but not falling apart.

Remove squash from braising liquid and cool.

Reduce braising liquid by two-thirds, cool, and use to make the vinaigrette.

Squash can be reheated in the oven at 350° F for 10 minutes.


  • 3 Tbsp nduja
  • 2 1/14 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp delicata braising liquid (see recipe above)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil
  • Salt, pepper, and sugar, to taste

Place all ingredients except oil into a food processor or blender.

While the food processor is on, slowly add oil to emulsify for a smooth texture.

When all oil is incorporated, season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.

This recipe is from Abigail Therrien & Dave Vanderlaan of Littlebird in Grand Rapids.