Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Vinaigrette Dressing

This has been a wonderful holiday season filled with much great vegan fare! Being on vacation from work for the last seven days means that I have spent many hours in my kitchen (my favorite place on earth, by the way) cooking like a wild woman!  I am starting to feel, well, STUFFED.  Last night I reached the point where I decided enough is enough! Time to scale back on the food and focus on lighter fare, including low calorie, nutrition packed leafy greens.

I was watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network the other day and Ina Garten made a version of this salad that looked just too good not to make. I made some changes to her dish to veganize it and made some substitutions because I didn't have everything I needed in the house.

This is a fantastic salad, keeps the holiday festive food theme going but is somewhat easier on the waistline.  And the fact that most grocery stores sell butternut squash already peeled and cubed is just a bonus. It really hit the spot for me and I hope it will for you too!

Roasted Butter Nut Squash Salad with Warm Vinaigrette Dressing

20 oz butternut squash peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 tbsp organic molasses
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp dried cranberries
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup organic apple juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp minced shallot
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
Baby arugula
Baby spinach
Chiffonade of Swiss shard (stems removed)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the molasses, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat.. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple juice, vinegar, and minced shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 minutes, until the apple juice is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Toast the walnuts in a small pan over medium heat until fragrant.

Place the greens on a plate and add the roasted squash mixture.  Add the walnuts. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten. Don't overdress! Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.


  1. The salad looks colorful, hearty and flavorful. Proof that salads are not boring.

    And as to how you're and me both, sister! This week I decided to start adding more raw foods into my diet. My body needs a break! (and raw isn't boring either, I made an awesome avocado-ginger dressing for a leafy green salad...Mmmm)

  2. Lee, I am a hard core meat eater who for various health reasons is going to cut as much "junk" from my diet as possible.I never had to eat veggies as a kid so as an adult adding them in to my diet has not been easy but this sounds so good I am going to try it. Thanks for this one and I will be looking over other recipes you have too just in case I see more great sounding ones.

  3. J, Good for you for deciding to cut out the "junk" and add some more veggies into your diet! I hope you enjoy the salad. I thought it was really great!