Sunday, October 6, 2013

Butternut squash salad with apple honey vinagrette

Even though we've been hit with a beautiful Indian Summer here in New York City, I couldn't resist the siren call of butternut squash while at Trader Joe's last week and whipped up what has quickly become one of my all-time favorite salads. I first served this with the squash still warm from the oven, but it tastes just as great a few days later and cold from being stored in the refrigerator.

How to
Peel 1 butternut squash. Slice in half, remove the seeds and other guts, and cut into small cubes. On a foil-lined cookie sheet (the foil makes for an easy clean-up later on), spread out the squash cubes and coat in extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is soft and starting to brown. While the squash is roasting, make the dressing. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, the juice from one small lemon, 2 tbsp. honey, 1/4 cup olive oil, and a dash each of cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Whisk or blend (I used my immersion blender) until everything is completely mixed together. The dressing will be a bit frothy, so let it sit in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Add 1-2 handfuls of dried cranberries to the squash for the last five minutes of baking - this will give the cranberries a nice warm plumpness. On a large dinner plate, place 2-3 large handfuls of leafy green (I used a spinach and spring greens mix). Add the roasted vegetables and a large spoonful of feta cheese, toss with the dressing. Add walnuts if desired!

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