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Warm Winter Salads

  • November 27th, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I did a cooking demo for BioReliance’s employee health fair. I made a few interesting dishes including a kale, white bean and potato soup, a lentil, sausage and swiss chard skillet and a pan roasted butternut squash and goat cheese salad with toasted shallots, sage and pecans. Although people liked all three dishes, the roasted butternut squash salad seemed to be the favorite. I really like this dish because I love salads, but they tend to be too cooling for me during the winter. If I add some roasted veggies and warming spices and herbs, it’s a great combination for my damp constitution!

To create your own, warm winter salad, roast your favorite root vegetable(s) and then mix them with your favorite toasted nuts, herbs and even cheese. Make a tasty homemade salad dressing and toss with fresh greens such as spinach, watercress, arugula, endive and/or radicchio. In just a few moments, you have a scrumptious starter salad for a Holiday menu or even a satisfying mid-week entree salad.

Here are a few ideas for warm winter salad combinations followed by the recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad. Any of these roasted vegetable options would work well with the basic dijon vinaigrette mentioned in this recipe. Have fun experimenting!

 

Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese & Arugula Salad

Roasted Veggies:
winter squash (i.e. butternut, acorn, kabocha, delicata)
parsnips
beets
rutabaga
cauliflower
Brussels sprouts
sweet potatoes

 

Greens:
arugula
mesclun mix
romaine
bib lettuce
spinach
endive
raddichio
baby greens

 

Nuts:
pecans
pine nuts
walnuts
cashews
sunflower seeds
chestnuts
hazelnuts

 

Cheese:
goat cheese
blue cheese
Manchego
fresh mozzarella
shaved Pecorino Romano
brie

 

Herbs:
thyme
sage
rosemary
oregano

 

Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese & Arugula Salad

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup lightly toasted pecan halves
  • 2 bunches arugula leaves (about 4 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded radicchio
  • 1 butternut squash, halved & seeded
  • 1 cup of blue cheese or goat cheese, crumbled
  • coconut oil, extra virgin unrefined
  • 2 TBSP thyme

Dressing Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP finely diced shallot or red onion
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • ½ TBSP maple syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Halve the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Peel and cube (~1-inch cubes). Place in a roasting pan greased with extra virgin coconut oil. Bake approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. In a medium hot skillet (un-oiled), toast pecan pieces, turning every few minutes.
  3. Wash arugula well and trim stems if necessary. Use whole leaves or tear into bite-size pieces if leaves are too large. Place in a medium-size bowl.
  4. Add shredded radicchio, crumbled goat cheese and toasted pecans to arugula and toss gently. Set aside while you prepare the dressing.
  5. In a small skillet, heat 1 TBSP of the coconut oil. Add shallot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and sea salt. Add butternut squash and brown. Once browned, drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad, toss very gently, and add cubes of squash to top. Serve immediately on individual salad plates.

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