Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

I’ve never been a a creative salad 20120123-215353.jpgperson, always reverting to the standard restaurant side salad of iceberg lettuce, julienned carrots, celery and bottled vinaigrette dressing. Sometimes I would get crazy and add cherry tomatoes. Quite boring really. Last summer I discovered beets so I really branched out and made salads with beets, goat cheese, pecans and, again, bottle vinaigrettes. That was as adventurous as it would get.

Then I discovered this Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. I wasn’t too sure of the vinaigrette as I was making it as it tasted very tart but once it was on the salad it came together beautifully.

This salad is delicious, and not at all boring. It’s a meal, a side, a snack. It’s warm, sweet, crunchy, tangy, and salty. It’s easy but good enough for company (thanks for being my taste tester, Alyssa!). A fantastic winter salad that is sure to break you out of your salad rut as it did for me.

Never again will you see me shaking that store bought salad dressing. NEVER! Well, maybe sometimes but not as often…

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
From Ina Garten

Ingredients
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
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

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 arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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