I think after this past Halloween weekend, it’s time for a little re-charge and getting back on the healthy eating track. For me anyway. I also thought after posting so many treats, it was time for salad in the mix. And oh boy, it’s a good one!
Everyone needs a great salad you can take to a family dinner or any social gathering. Years ago, for family gatherings I was always asked to bring the salad. It got a little old but I decided to take on the challenge and started creating salads that were unforgettable. I sure love a good salad and this one delivers every time. It’s has the perfect combinations of textures and flavors that are guaranteed to make you want to go back for more.
The ingredients are simple and pretty straight forward. And don’t let roasting a butternut squash intimidate you. It’s really super easy This salad is also easily interchangeable with ingredients. You can use roasted pumpkin in place of the butternut squash. Or, you can use pears instead of the squash. I love using red pears in this salad. Switch it up and make it your own. It’s a fairly easy salad. Pre-heat your oven to 400º. For this salad I use a smaller squash, about 1.5 -2 lbs. Place the butternut squash on it’s side, and cut off the very end. So it stands up straight like this:
Using a large chefs knife, slice down the center of the squash.
Turn the squash on it’s side and scoop out the center with a large spoon. Then peel the squash with a peeler.
Using your knife, cut down the middle of the squash and continue cutting into small diced pieces. Place on a half sheet pan and drizzle with about 2 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Bake in your oven for 15-20 minutes. I like my squash to have just a slight firmness in texture, not too mushy for this salad. Let the squash cool on the pan. In the meantime, for the salad you’ll need about 10-12 oz of spring mix lettuce, 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, and 1/2 cup pecans, preferably lightly toasted. Toasting the pecans brings out the full depth of flavor. This salad is meant to feed a large crowd of about 10-12 people, less if you want larger servings.
For the vinaigrette, you’ll need 1/2 cup of champagne vinegar, 1 T granulated sugar, 1 small clove of garlic, minced, 2 tsp yellow onion, minced (such a small amount, I know but it adds the right amount of kick) 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper. Using a blender or a mini food processor place all of the ingredients except the oil, together in the blender or bowl and mix well. Slowly add the canola oil and blend to mix completely. That’s it! Super easy and so, so good!. I recommend adding dressing just right before serving. The dressing makes 2 cups, so you’ll likely have leftover, which will keep in the fridge for up to a week.