Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Apple Cider and Maple Vinaigrette

I recently had an epiphany.  My friend gave me a recipe to roast brussel sprouts and then top with a Apple Cider and Brown Sugar Reduction Sauce and I said to myself, “self…this reduction sauce would make one bad ass vinaigrette.”   And then another recipe blew my mind.  Put warm roasted vegetables over a bed of salad.  Well we have spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, so it isn’t so far off to roast some veggies and plop it on top of the salad and call it delicious now is it?  So, brain is working and ideas are being made.  I did my research and found this Roasted Butternut Squash Salad floating around Nest of Posies and thought I would do my family night dinner spin on it.

I couldn’t just roast the butternut squash, that would be too one dimension.  But, I had a fennel bulb hanging around so I sliced it up thin and plopped it on the roasting pan.  I love shallots roasted too so hey, lets get some of those in there too.  Add the fennel and shallots, don’t add them, no worries in my world.  But, I will tell you this, they were so awesome that I would roast the trifecta of butternut squash, fennel and shallots again, served them with a egg over medium with some shaved Parmesan on top and call it dinner.  Mmmmm, I now know what I am doing with my leftovers that didn’t make it onto the salad.

But alas, I digress.  Let’s get back on topic shall we?

Let’s start with the dressing…

Apple Cider and Maple Vinaigrette

  • 3/4 cup Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2- 3 tbsp Whole Grain Dijon Mustard (depending on your taste)
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder and Onion Powder (to taste)
  1. In a small saucepan reduce the apple cider and maple syrup by half.  This will mellow the vinegar out and give a wonderful viscosity to the dressing
  2. After the vinegar/maple syrup glaze has cooled down, add the whole grain mustard, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and then slowly whisk the olive oil it.
  3. Always take a tiny taste and adjust seasonings accordingly

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Word to the wise…a whole squash is too much for the salad, even if this is for your main dish.  You can either roast the whole thing and save half for another meal or use half for the salad and save it raw for another use.  If you can find the pre-cut squash spend the extra money and get that for goodness sake.  So much easier that way!  I want to say this is for 4 main servings or 6-8 side dish servings.

  • 1/2 of a Butternut Squash peeled, seeded and cubed into bite size pieces
  • 1 small bulb of Fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 Shallot, thinly sliced like the fennel
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp of Brown Sugar
  • 2 -3 slices of Thick Bacon cooked and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds (or dried cranberries or a cut up fresh Apple or Pear)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta Cheese (or Goat Cheese or Blue Cheese)
  • Mixed Baby Greens (1-2 pre-washed bags depending on your hunger level)
  • Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder to taste
  1. First pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Peel, seed and cube the butternut squash and thinly slice up the fennel and shallots.  Put all these vegetables on a sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil (however much you so desire).  Then sprinkle on the brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.  Roast for about 20-25 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.
  2. During the roasting time you can cook and crumble up your bacon (or warm up some pre-cooked bacon in you want a time saver)
  3. Let the roasted veggies cool off for a few minutes.  Place your baby greens (or spinach or arugula) in a serving bowl.  Then top with the warm (not piping hot) roasted veggies.  Add the bacon, pomegranate seeds and feta on top.
  4. Drizzle the entire salad with the Apple Cider Vinaigrette (or store bought dressing of your choice)  Normally, I would say toss with the dressing, but the salad is so pretty when layered that drizzling it over and serving is just prettier…but, hey your salad – your choice!

As you can tell, I tend to be a loosie-goosie type of cook.  It is actually why you won’t see me baking very often.  I feel a recipe is just a start off point and you can change and adapt it to your likes, time frame and what you already have on hand.  Really if it’s delicious, not full of the nasty preservative stuff we should stay away from and made from the heart, it will always taste amazing.  Now go and make a family dinner of your own…Clink!

 

 

 

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