I don’t like salads. Green salads, that is. I find raw veggies and dressing to be oh-so-boring and generally not satisfying. I’d rather have roasted asparagus or steamed broccoli to get my greens — please don’t give me rabbit food.
But I’ve found a salad I can handle. It incorporates meat, nuts, fruit and veggies, has great flavor and is warm (and filling!). Meet the Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad, adapted from Barefoot Contessa.
- 1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
- Good olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar [I substituted white wine vinegar]
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4 ounces baby spinach, washed and spun dry
- 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the spinach in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, the chicken and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
[Since this made way more than I can handle for in one sitting, even after a workout, I dressed an individual portion and then packaged the leftovers in separate containers. I think it’ll make great leftovers, even when cold.]