Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autumn Salad

In the midst of a season filled with so many warm casseroles and pumpkin desserts, last night I was craving a big salad for dinner. Keeping with the season though, I opted for a Fall-themed salad.

Bring on the butternut, my friends. I made Ina Garten's "Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cider Vinaigrette."

Last week, I was fortunate enough to score her Back to Basics cookbook from a giveaway on Mads' blog. Since Ina Garten is pretty much my baking idol (Outrageous Brownies, anyone?), I was absolutely thrilled to find such an awesome surprise on my front porch.

I loved everything about this salad: apple cider dressing, toasted walnuts, and roasted butternut squash (my favorite!). For those of you who shy away from serving a salad as a main course to your family--be shy no more! We paired this dinner-plate salad with biscuits and jam for a filling, healthy Saturday night meal. (Don't be deceived though: we went out for ice cream at Coldstone Creamery afterwards).

As a side note, I completely recommend the Back to Basics cookbook to anyone who likes to cook. The delicious recipes are endless, the ingredient lists are short, and there are pictures to accompany every dish. We're making two more recipes from the book tonight :)

Are you an Ina Garten fan? Do you have a favorite recipe?

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
(a recipe adapted from Ina Garten's Back to Basics Cookbook)

I absolutely love this salad. I don't know what else to say. It's just that good.

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • a little olive oil
  • a drizzle of maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 TBSP cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Spinach, chopped and stemmed
  • Toasted walnuts, chopped
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2) Place butternut squash cubes in a large bowl. Drizzle with just a little olive oil (1 TBSP?) and a little maple syrup (1 TBSP?). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place squash in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until tender (Stir halfway through cooking time).

3) While the squash is roasting, make the dressing. Combine the apple cider, vinegar and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Cook for 6 -8 minutes until cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil in as well (about 1 - 2 TBSP).

4) Individually plate salads, layering spinach, squash, dried cranberries, walnuts, and cheese. Drizzle dressing over individual servings.


  1. I love your Autumn salad, I need salad in my life after all this candy in the past couple days. lol

  2. Yum! I'm impressed with this creation. It seems like the ingredients would blend very well together.

  3. Man, I'm going through some serious squash withdrawals now that I'm without a kitchen!

  4. I love that this salad incorporates the flavors of fall without all the heavy ingredients and calories. Holding onto this one to help me though the holiday season...thanks :)

  5. I recently had dinner with my parents and my dad made chicken and used an Ina recipe -- it was awesome. Basically the chicken was bathed in butter -- sounds like a Paula Deen recipe, no?

    I love the idea of apple cider dressing -- I bet that tasted delicious!

  6. I love bnut squash but I've never had it in a salad! This looks like a really good fall salad :) I bet the drizzle of syrup would give it the perfect sweet kick!

  7. I just want you to know, I'm currently eating a salad topped with squash ;) Your post inspired me! :)

  8. That looks so good -- I'm a salad freak and also love Ina - this really does look and sound amazing!

  9. That is sooooo my kind of salad! Looks so yummy.

    I've never watched Ina Garten, but my boyfriend loves her because she reminds him of his mom!

  10. I definitely need to eat more salads this time of year, and this recipe sounds like a great idea! It would be perfect for Thanksgiving, too. :)