Do you have a favorite autumn salad?
This fall squash salad is definitely mine. Roasted butternut squash, hearty spinach, sweet chewy cherries and crunchy pumpkin seeds are bathed in a light, tangy vinaigrette. It’s really great when served warm and the spinach wilts a bit under the warmth of the squash. But I’ve eaten it cold, and it’s just as delicious!
This roasted squash salad is perfect for a main meal. But I’ve also added some leftover Thanksgiving turkey in the past.
The acidity of this simple oil, vinegar & maple syrup vinaigrette cuts the natural sweetness of the vegetables perfectly. For another twist on this salad, try this Maple Walnut Vinaigrette and substitute walnuts for the pepitas!
This salad is equally good made with sweet potatoes and dried cranberries.
If you are of the belief that salads can’t be very comforting or soul satisfying, then you’ve just got to give this salad a try!
Know when to tune out; if you listen to too much advice, you may wind up making other people’s mistakes.
- For the Salad:
- 2 butternut squash (about 4-5 lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into 1½ inch chunks
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces of baby spinach
- ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup of dried cherries
- For the Vinaigrette:
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 6 Tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons of pure maple syrup
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a 15x10x1 inch baking sheet with aluminum foil
- In a large bowl, combine the squash pieces, the Tablespoon of oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and several grinds of freshly cracked pepper.
- Toss to combine and then spread the pieces out on the baking sheet.
- Roast for about 50-60 minutes until the squash is tender and golden brown in spots.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Place the spinach in a large bowl. Top with cooled squash, dried cherries and pumpkin seeds.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ½ cup of oil, vinegar, and maple syrup.
- Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Drizzle about ½ of the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat.
- NOTE: THIS RECIPE MAKES MORE DRESSING THAN YOU MAY NEED FOR THE SALAD. IF YOU WISH TO MAKE JUST ENOUGH FOR THE SALAD, CUT THE VINAIGRETTE RECIPE IN HALF.