I honestly could have eaten this whole salad by myself. Yes, in one sitting, especially the pecans, oh the sweet pecans. It was tempting, but my better judgment won out and I portion controlled. The combination of flavors in this dish are so complimentary and beyond the definition of delicious.
Creamy roasted butternut squash, crunchy maple toasted pecans, dried tart cherries and a warm, melt-in-your mouth apple vinaigrette tossed with some fresh spring greens…. Oh wow, my mouth is watering as I describe this decadent concoction of healthy flavors. An excellent salad to serve at your Easter brunch or dinner.
Top with lean grilled chicken or turkey for a complete meal. This one is definitely a wow recipe and so easy to make. You’ll love it. (Be careful with the pecans when making, they are dangerously addictive and you might end up serving a salad without them if you get carried away.)
Roasted Butternut Squash & Pecan Salad with Warm Apple Vinaigrette
gluten & dairy free recipe
• 12 cups MIXED GREENS or BABY SPINACH, Organic
• 1 medium BUTTERNUT SQUASH, peeled, cubed
• 2 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
• 3/4 cup PECAN HALVES
• 1 tbsp 100% PURE MAPLE SYRUP
• 2/3 cup DRIED TART CHERRIES or CRANBERRIES
• 3/4 cup APPLE JUICE, 100% juice
• 2 tbsp APPLE CIDER VINEGAR*
• 2 tsp DIJON MUSTARD*
• 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
*Gluten free option: double check your apple cider vinegar and mustard do not include or derived from any gluten or wheat products.
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place cubed butternut squash on baking sheet and drizzle with 2 t. olive oil, sea salt and pepper; toss with hands to coat and spread evenly. Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, turning over squash half way through.
2. While squash roasts heat 3/4 c. apple juice in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes until reduced by about half. While warm whisk in 2 T. apple cider vinegar, 1 T. olive oil, 2 t. dijon mustard, sea salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm on very low heat.
3. Reduce oven heat to 250 degrees F. Spray a small foil lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss 3/4 c. pecan halves with 1 T. maple syrup and sprinkle of sea salt on prepared foil pan until well coated. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted and caramelized. Cool for a few minutes to harden (may do this step in advance).
4. Toss fresh mixed greens or spinach with 3/4 amount of warm vinaigrette. Top with roasted butternut squash, dried cherries, pecans and drizzle remaining dressing over top with fresh ground black pepper if desired. Serves 6.
VARIATIONS: Add crumbled feta cheese, thin sliced red onion, roasted garlic, roasted sweet potato, cooked quinoa or walnuts. Top with lean grilled chicken or turkey breast.
NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 250 calories, 13g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 33g carb, 6g fiber, 15g sugar, 4g protein