Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Splendid Salads: Roasted Squash and Apple Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

This salad really is special. Inspired by an Ina Garten recipe (the Barefoot Contessa). It is the best of autumn flavors in a hearty and filling salad. The peppery bite of the arugula paired with the sweetness of the roasted squash and fruit, the warm vinaigrette and squash with the cool fruit and greens. I just love it and hope you'll try it too! The original recipe called for maple syrup and shallots, both of which are pretty pricey. I made the substitute of onions and brown sugar for similar flavor but a lower impact on the grocery bill. The original recipe called for butternut squash, but since I have pumpkin at home, that is what I used. Use what you have or what you love!

Tip for the winter squash: don't bother peeling; it is a pain in the rear unless you have an epically sharp peeler and a lot of patience. Simply slice or cube, roast and when fully cooked (and cool enough to handle) the skin will come right off.
  
Roasted Squash and Apple Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
Serves 4
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) winter squash (pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash), roasted
  • 1 tablespoon  brown sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 apples (or pears), diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or golden raisins)
  • 3/4 cup apple juice (or apple cider)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the winter squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender.
  3. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and onion in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard,  olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  4. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the chopped apples, raisins and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Serve immediately. 

    Pumpkin ready for the oven!
    Apple juice and onion reducing for excellent flavor; just waiting on olive oil and dijon mustard

    Almost ready and so delicious
 


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