This week’s warm winter salad is provided by Earthbound Farm’s Executive Chef, Sarah LaCasse. Earthbound Farm is America’s leading grower of organic produce. Don’t relegate salads to the “side dish” just because it’s Winter. Combining seasonal and hearty vegetables with fresh greens, dried fruit, nuts and cheese is a healthy and filling main dish.
Roasted Winter Squash and Baby Kale Salad (Serves 4)
Sicilian vinaigrette (makes about 1/3 cup)
- 1 tablespoon capers (rinsed)
- 1 tablespoon Earthbound Farm Organic Raisins (soaked in very hot water for 10 minutes, drained and chopped)
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 1 clove Earthbound Farm Organic Garlic (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1-1/2 pounds winter squash (butternut, pumpkin or your favorite – peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 ounces Earthbound Farm Organic Kale
- 1/4 cup chopped Earthbound Farm Organic Italian Parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/3 cup Sicilian Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 ounces)
- 1/3 cup Earthbound Farm Organic Dried Cranberries (about 2.8 ounces)
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or pecans (about 1 ounce)
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray.
- Toss the cubes of squash with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the squash to the prepared pan and arrange in a single layer so the pieces don’t touch.
- Roast for 10 minutes, then turn the squash pieces and continue baking until the squash is tender and slightly caramelized.
- Drizzle with the honey and let cool.
- To make the vinaigrette, pound the capers, raisins, anchovies and garlic to a coarse paste with a mortar & pestle. (The mortar and pestle makes easy work of this step, but if you don’t have one, you can pulse them for a few seconds in a food processor instead)
- Transfer the paste to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid and add the oil, lemon juice and vinegar.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Close the jar and shake vigorously to combine.
- Set aside (Be sure to shake the dressing to mix it thoroughly again before you add it to the salad)
- When the squash has cooled and you’re ready to make the salad, place the baby kale, half of the parsley and half of the mint in a large bowl.
- Add some of the Sicilian Vinaigrette, tossing to coat the greens.
- Transfer the greens to a large platter or shallow bowl.
- Sprinkle the squash, feta, cranberries, nuts and the remaining herbs over the greens.
- Drizzle with more of the dressing to taste and serve immediately.
Simplicity expert and purveyor of provocative vegetarian cuisine, A.Michelle Blakeley is the curator of the new online magazine, The Vegetarian Aficionado. Connect with her on Twitter at @vegaficionado