Fall Salads are so hearty and delicious I consider them to be comfort foods. This salad, full of sweet roasted butternut squash, salty bacon, cranberries, pecans, and tangy Blue Cheese Vinaigrette is definitely comforting. I could eat it every day.
Winter squash gets a lot of play time in soups, but is often overlooked as a salad ingredient. I don’t know why because it is one of the most delicious salad ingredients imaginable. Acorn squash or even pumpkin or sweet potato could easily be substituted for the butternut squash and would be just as good.
The squash contributes such a beautiful, harvesty color to the salad. We don’t typically have a green salad with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but if you do this salad would really fit the bill.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 8 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
- Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss squash with oil and fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. (If squash is not very tender continue to cook.)
- In a large bowl, toss spinach and red onion with desired amount of Blue Cheese Vinaigrette. Top with butternut squash, cranberries, pecans, and bacon.
Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
- 3 generous tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
- Whisk together all ingredients and refrigerate until serving.
Yield: 1/2 cup
Recipe Source: Southern Living October 2005