Saturday, January 4, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette

Roasted butternut squash is one of my favorite ingredients. Similar to sweet potatoes, butternut squash takes on a sweet, caramel-y flavor when roasted. It is delicious eaten on its own as a side, or turned into a starter course or light meal when tossed with spinach. I love to toss the squash with spinach while it's still warm so the leaves slightly wilt as the salad combines. Topped with crunchy toasted pine nuts and salty Parmesan cheese, this is a simple yet decadent salad. The balsamic-honey vinaigrette is my all-time favorite salad dressing. I whip it up anytime I make a salad, and even use it to marinate chicken. It's my go-to recipe and with only four ingredients, you'll be able to remember this one!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette
Fabulous as a first course or light meal, sweet squash and spinach tossed in my favorite dressing.
Serves 6

1 whole Butternut Squash                                  
3 Tablespoons Butter                                    
Salt And Pepper, to taste                                    
1/4 cup Freshly Shredded Parmesan (more To Taste)                                    
3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts                                    
4 cups Baby Spinach Greens
Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette 
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Use a knife to lop off the top and bottom off the squash. Slice the skin off the sides, then cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into large pieces, cut the pieces into slices, cut the slices into matchsticks, then cut the matchsticks into a dice. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter in a small pan, or in a bowl in the microwave. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of the butter into the bowl with the squash. Add salt and pepper and toss to combine. Pour the squash onto a baking sheet and spread them into a single layer.
Bake for 20 minutes, then crank up the heat to 425 and continue roasting for 15 minutes or so, until the squash is sizzling and golden brown around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside.
Grate the Parmesan and sprinkle it over the squash. Toss it quickly so that the cheese won't melt (it should only soften), then transfer the mixture to a plate.
Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Add those to the plate with the squash and toss to combine.
To make the dressing, whisk the ingredients together in a small dish. Pour over the spinach and toss until coated. You might not need it all. Arrange spinach on a large platter and add the roasted squash, pine nuts, and more Parmesan cheese.
Recipe by Sarah Lang, adapted from the Pioneer Woman

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