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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Dinner
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The stars were aligned last weekend when I passed Trader Joe’s in Union Square and couldn’t spot the “end of line” human marker in the front of the store. Thinking the weird emptiness was indicative of some kind of salmonella outbreak, I almost kept walking, but eventually my curiosity got the best of me.

For those who are not familiar with the madhouse that is Trader Joe’s NYC and have the benefit of a spacious grocery that doesn’t require an action plan to get through a small shopping list, I envy you. For those who frequent Trader Joe’s Union Square on a regular basis, please tell me your secret to success.

My secret on this unique Sunday was that it fell on a holiday weekend, and I was shopping at 8 in the morning. I was so inspired by the absent crowds that I got a little carried away, which brings me to my butternut squash recipe. The prices in Trader Joe’s are so great that I got a little cart-happy and left with way more pounds of produce than I needed. Needless to say, I was happy to put this almost-wasted squash to good use.

Bitches in the Kitchen: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

This recipe is an old family favorite, and reminds me of many girls nights at home (my dad would never make us an entirely vegetarian meal!). Butternut squash is like dessert to me. It’s easy and scrumptious to roast, and when it’s mixed with the vinaigrette and walnuts, this recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and salty. An extra bonus and a constant priority in my cooking adventures is that the lunch leftovers are just as good as the previous night’s dinner. Enjoy!

Bitches in the Kitchen: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch diced (get pre-cut! Dealing with cutting your own butternut squash is way too time-consuming)
– Good olive oil
– 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
– Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
– 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
– 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
-2 tablespoons minced shallots
– 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
– 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
– 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
– 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F

2. Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

3. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

4. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Source: 2008 Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

 

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