Justin and I were out to dinner at the Rustic Kitchen at some point in the last year or so and we had an amazing salad that we’ve been talking about ever since. Unfortunately we’re a little foggy on any of the details of said salad. Looking back, I wish I had written down the ingredients because they have since taken it off of the menu; all we can remember about it was that it had butternut squash and maybe some goat cheese? Completely unhelpful. But man was it good!
Justin was cooking up some steak the other night, potatoes were boiling for buttermilk mashed potatoes (recipe to come!) and we were thinking about what vegetable we should have to round out the meal; we decided that it would be a perfect time to try to re-create the mystery salad. We had some squash in the fridge and found some other ingredients that we thought would fit in nicely, so while Justin was preparing the steak, I got to choppin’. I’m not sure that anything could live up to that glorious salad that we’ve built up in our minds, but this one was pretty good! Here are the steps to creating the Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad:
Start off by cutting the butternut squash into cubes.
Toss the squash with olive oil and coarse salt.
Arrange the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes.
Note: I like to line the baking sheet with tinfoil. It makes for a really quick cleanup!
While the squash is roasting, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Remove the squash from the oven and brush with the brown sugar mixture.
Return the sheet to the oven and roast until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes longer.
While the squash is roasting, gather the rest of the ingredients for the salad.
Chop the walnuts
and cut up the apples into smaller-than-bitesize pieces. I used Gala apples, which are very sweet and worked well with the bite from the balsamic vinegar on the squash. I thought that Granny Smiths would be a little bit of an tartness overkill, but that’s just my taste. Use whichever variety you like best!
Note: the next time I make this salad I will probably cut the apples into even smaller pieces. Has anyone out there ever julienned an apple?
Remove the squash and allow it to cool.
Rinse and dry your lettuce mix and toss with the rest of your ingredients.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad
serves: 6 / prep time: 15 minutes / total time: 35 minutes
1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon (packed) brown sugar
6 ounces of greens (I used a spring mix/baby spinach combo)
2 unpeeled Gala apples, halved, cored and chopped.
2oz goat cheese (more or less to taste)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop the butternut squash into cubes. Toss with the olive oil and salt and arrange in a single layer on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes. Whisk the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the squash from the oven and brush with the brown sugar mixture. Return the sheet to the oven and roast until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 more minutes. While the squash is roasting, chop the walnuts and cut the apples into smaller-than-bitesize pieces. Rinse and dry the greens and combine with the walnuts, apples, cranberries and goat cheese. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool and then toss with the salad mixture.
A salad like that would keep me happy for an entire work shift! Here it is 11:45 p.m., after a busy day at the “pit” (short for hospital), and I’m salivating like a doggone dog looking at the ingredients and final result.