Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Roasted Butternut and Spinach Salad

I've never been a big fan of butternut squash until my friend Tracy gave me this recipe.  I pulled it out again last night to try on my mom.  By the look on her face, she wasn't a big fan but I'll let you decide.  I'm hooked on it.  Take a butternut squash, peel it, remove the seeds and dice into big bite sized pieces.  Lay the chunks out in a single layer on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, tin foil, sil pat, whatever you have so that it won't stick when roasting.  Drizzle over some oil just to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pop the pan in a 400 degree oven for about a half an hour to 45 minutes.  If you have a huge butternut squash, you may need longer.  I usually use a small to medium sized squash that serves 2-3.  While the squash is roasting, wash a bag of baby spinach and give it a rough chop.  Put some trail mix in a bowl.  The mix I use is dried cranberries, raisins, peanuts, almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds.  You can use any dried fruit and/or nuts mix.  Dice up a garlic clove or two and add it to the mix.  When the squash is soft and slightly browned, dump it on top of the trail mix and garlic and let it cool.  The heat will soften the dried fruit and garlic just a tad.  While the cooling is going on, chop some herbs.  I've used fresh basil and fresh thyme the two times I've made this and Tracy gave me the recipe with fresh rosemary in it so I know those are good to go.  Throw the herbs in the bowl and top with a bit more oil.  Tracy uses Wegman's garlic and rosemary oil and I had the Wegman's garlic and basil oil in my cupboard so I used that.  Toss with the spinach and serve.  I had to add a touch more salt and pepper to the finished dish.

Some variations that you may want to consider.  Tracy also roasted garlic and onion but I've yet to do that.  I think if I were using this as a side dish and not a main dish, I'd do that.  I also thought about roasting the garlic and if I didn't have an already herbed oil, use the roasted garlic and oil as more of an aoli type dressing.  Might try that next time.  I also thought last night while I was chowing down on the dish that some feta or goat cheese would be nice in the dish.  Enjoy.  And thanks Tracy!

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