Fall and winter is the time of year when I tend to eat lots of heavy, hearty meals. I don't get nearly enough fresh leafy greens in and this salad was a nice departure from the usual foods I've been eating lately. Still hearty yet mostly fresh, this salad will leave you feeling satisfied and like you've done something wonderful for yourself. I love the color of butternut squash, it radiates warmth on these cooler days. And its sweetness and tender flesh once cooked is a welcome addition to this salad! There is a little bit of cooking but once done you can throw this simple salad together in a cinch. And it's so very worth the wait as your home will smell delicious as the butternut squash cooks!
I paired this salad with a shallot vinaigrette which I just love. I'm looking forward to pairing this vinaigrette over some steamed asparagus too. It would be wonderful drizzled over a roasted vegetable quinoa salad as well! This salad would also be great with a sweeter dressing like this Maple Dijon Dressing (just double the recipe). I've also included an oil free option that I think you'll really enjoy as well using apple juice, adapted from Ina Garten (see notes). I also threw in a few optional ideas from her recipe as well. I have a few variations of shallot vinaigrette's to test out and will be sharing as they come along. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this wonderful autumn salad!
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad + Shallot Vinaigrette
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cubed 1/2 inch
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- handful dried cranberries
- handful pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 8 oz. salad mix of choice (baby greens, gem, arugula, spring mix, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon apple cider, champagne or white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- mineral salt & cracked pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper or lightly grease your pan.
In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, vinegar and mustard. Blend until mustard has emulsified. Add in water shallots, salt & pepper and whisk again until combined. Set aside.
Combine squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and maple syrup (either do this in a medium sized bowl or right on the baking sheet for one less dish to wash). Spread butternut squash on baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 20 minutes, until fork tender, turning once. Remove from oven and let cool a bit.
Fill your serving dishes with salad of choice, add butternut squash, top with cranberries and pepitas. Drizzle your dressing over top and serve.
Feel free to use raisins or pomegranates seeds in place of cranberries.
Use pecans, walnuts or almomds in place of the pumpkin seeds if you prefer.
Try adding the cranberries with the butternut squash for the last 5 minutes of cooking to warm them up a bit.
Feel free to warm your dressing just before serving, or keep near a warm spot by the stove until ready to serve.
To make an oil free vinaigrette for this salad, use 1/4 - 1/3 cup apple juice or apple cider in place of the oil and water. When cooking the butternut squash, simply omit the oil.