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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

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This is the second time I've topped a salad with roasted butternut squash (first time here, with chickpeas and tahini dressing!) and the second time I've considered it a brilliant combination. In fact, roasted squash just might be my new favorite salad topper. I don't think I ever would have put these ingredients together on my own (butternut squash meets bacon meets blue cheese?!), but they work well together. You get a little sweet, a little tart, and a lot delicious!

To make this salad preparation easier, you can roast the squash and make the dressing a day ahead of time--do it while you're waiting for your soup to simmer one night! The next day, continue with step 3 below and in less than ten minutes you'll have a healthy salad on your plate.

Blue cheese not your thing? I think another vinaigrette would work just fine!

One Year Ago: Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
from Southern Living, October 2005

for the roasted squash-
-3 lbs butternut squash
-1 tbsp butter, melted
-1/2 tbsp honey
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper

for the dressing-
-3 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
-2 tbsp water
-1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
-1 tbsp white vinegar
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1 tsp Dijon mustard
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-1/4 tsp sugar
-1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
-dash of salt

for the salad-
-1 small red onion, sliced
-1 tsp olive oil
-1 (6 oz) package fresh baby spinach (approximately 8 cups)
-1/2 cup dried cranberries
-1/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
-2 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (can be omitted to make vegetarian!)

1. To make the roasted squash, cut butternut squash in half, remove and discard seeds. Peel and chop into one inch chunks. Stir together butter and honey. Toss squash with butter mixture and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Lay squash on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450F for 30-35 minutes, until tender.
2. To make the dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve.
3. Saute onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until tender. Add roasted squash, cooking just until warm (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat.
4. In a large bowl, toss spinach with blue cheese vinaigrette. Add squash/onion mixture, cranberries, pecans, and bacon.