Guys I think I just found my new favorite fall salad! Seriously, this stuff is good. But let’s back up a little….
How was your weekend? Mine was in full swing. We’re trying to take advantage of what’s left of the warm days around here and we did it by eating. Or that’s how the weekend and part of last week felt. Honestly, we normally not the ones to go out much but man last week, it was sushi one night, steamed crabs the other and chili-cheese fries over the weekend. Ugh. All so good in the moment until your pants don’t fit. I’ve been seriously slacking and abandoning my healthy habits but good thing there’s Meatless Monday and I like to start my week on track.
I go through phases with salads. Sometimes I crave them nonstop, sometimes I could care less and I guess last week was the “could care less” moment for me but today I’m all about healthy greens and this Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Salad is seriously good stuff. It serves as a meal by itself but you can totally serve it as dinner side/salad. It’s packed with fall flavors and beautiful colors!
Roasted butternut squash. Super nutty and buttery! Combined with sweet and crunchy asian pear, toasted spiced-pecans, fresh baby salad greens and shallots. It’s hearty and crispy fresh at the same time. I made a simple balsamic vinaigrette (minus the garlic) and that’s it. Very few ingredients but very flavorful!
Now I just need to convince my 5 year old to try. What do you think? …..I’ll let you know next time..
- ½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- ½ tsp. chile powder
- 3 cups, peeled and diced ¾-inch butternut squash
- ⅓ cup + 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup very thinly sliced shallots
- 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. light brown sugar
- 6 cups loosely packed mixed baby greens
- 1 small pear (any type), halved, cored and thinly sliced
- fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional)
- sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Combine the pecans with melted butter and chile powder in a small baking dish. Toss to coat. Bake for 5 minutes or until toasted. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt. Roast on a large baking sheet for 20 minutes. Optional: flip the butternut squash and broil for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- While the squash is roasting, place the shallots into a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for 15 minutes; drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, and ¼ tsp. salt. While whisking, slowly pour in the remaining ⅓ cup of oil.
- To assemble the salad: combine the salad greens and shallots in a large bowl. Drizzle just enough vinaigrette to coat the salad lightly. Add the squash, pears and pecans. Drizzle with more dressing. Sprinkle with fresh herbs (optional) and serve.
adapted from The Best of Fine Cooking Fall 2011