roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette

November 1st, 2012

It’s been a difficult time on the East coast, as I’m sure you’re all too well aware of by now. We are feeling incredibly grateful to have escaped any issues surrounding the storm. That being said, it’s sad to walk around our neighborhood and through our favorite park to find beautiful old trees fallen to the ground. Seeing those trees is a reminder of how lucky we are, knowing that just miles away people lost their homes and lives to this storm.

Things have been slow in our household— I’ve spent a lot of time away from the computer, making things with my hands—painting, printing, sewing and of course a little cooking. Good food always makes things better, right? Well let me tell you, this salad is all about feeling good—it’s warm and comforting and downright delicious.

Can I tell you something? I am terrible, like really terrible, at grocery shopping. So while I bought some things to get us through the storm, I only had a few days worth. I think we were both ready for something besides the roast I made on Sunday and toasted portuguese rolls. So when I found this recipe for a roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette in Ina Garten’s Back to Basic’s cookbook, my mouth immediately began to water and I knew I had to try to get those ingredients. After being cooped up in the house for a few days, I made my way to our local grocery to gather any supplies I could. I managed to get the only greens they had (spinach), the last shallot and some apple cider. Just enough to combine with my stash at home to whip this baby up.

As with most salads, this is pretty easy to make, all the way down to the dressing. Give yourself 25 minutes and you will be rewarded with a dreamy, just warm enough, fall salad. Cozy fall flavors like maple syrup, sweet butternut squash, apple cider pair perfectly with the crunch of toasted walnuts and the tart burst of dried cherries. You guys, it is like magic in your mouth. In fact, by the time we’d eaten every last bit of it I was already thinking of when I’d make it again. So come on, do yourself a favor and whip up a little fall comfort.

roasted butternut squash salad with warm vinaigrette

serves 4 | adapted from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics cookbook

The original recipe called for dried cranberries, which you could certainly still use, but I found the dried cherries added a great punch of flavor. It also called for arugula, which wasn’t available at my grocery—I’ll definitely give that a try next time to see if I like it, but we really enjoyed the supple spinach (yeah, I said that).

For the salad:

1 (1 1/2 lb) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons dried cherries
4 ounces spinach
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the cider vinaigrette:

note, this makes extra dressing.

3/4 cup apple cider
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

1. Place the 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 20-25 minutes, turning once, until tender.

2. 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 6-10 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 pepper.

3. Place the spinach in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash, dried cherries, 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.


Comments: 5 Total

  1. little kitchie

    November 1, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Oh my goodness this looks great! It is still 80-90 degrees where I live (Dallas, TX), so I am always interested in good fall recipes that aren’t unbearable to eat in this heat! Thanks for sharing! xx

  2. Eileen

    November 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Glad you guys escaped the storm in one piece! And oh man–I remember that apple cider from the Ft. Greene farmer’s market when we lived in Brooklyn. Using it in a vinaigrette sounds so good!

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    November 2, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Love how easy this is! Yum!

  4. Julia

    December 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Hey Kelly: Any excuse for butternut squash in our house! Loved this salad…and we had plenty left over for soup as well.

  5. alwayshungry

    December 7, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I never thought of adding butternut to a salad! Sounds interesting I’ll definetly give it a try!

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