A Warm Squash Salad

squashsalad
I knew I wanted to create something with butternut squash on Thanksgiving. I also knew I didn’t want to serve a basic green salad — that just doesn’t feel right anymore. It’s November, it’s cold outside and most of the ingredients I generally use in my salads are no longer in season.

So I began my search for butternut squash dishes. It didn’t take long before I found a recipe called Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. I rarely follow recipes verbatim. I often substitute ingredients, usually more healthful ones. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup cheese and dried cranberries. I omitted the cheese and substituted fresh apples.

I love warm salads and greens in the winter and this salad is really delicious and, of course, very nutritious. It ended up being my favorite dish of the day!

The original version is from the Food Network. Here’s my version:

Ingredients

For the Salad
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
1 sweet apple, cleaned and chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 large handfuls baby arugula or spinach (or a mixture of both)
Sea salt and pepper

For The Dressing
2 Tablespoons minced shallots (can use garlic too)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the butternut squash on a stainless steel sheet pan or glass casserole dish. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast the squash for about 20 minutes, turning once, until tender.

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 about 8 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat, whisk in the mustard and 1/2 cup olive oil.

Place the greens in a large bowl. Add the roasted squash, apples and walnuts. Season with sea salt and pepper. Pour just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Serve immediately!

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