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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Sherry Maple Vinaigrette

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Serves six as a starter.

I like to include the optional bacon in this salad because I think its meaty smokiness adds great contrast to the bitter greens, creamy goat cheese, and sweet butternut squash.

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 lb.)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium heads Belgian endive
  • 1 small head frisée
  • 1/2 small head radicchio
  • 3 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, stemmed
  • Sherry Maple Vinaigrette
  • 6-oz. log fresh goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

Cover the raisins with the port and let sit overnight.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut off the bulb end of the squash; reserve for another use. Peel the cylinder end and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice. Thinly slice the red onion. In a bowl, combine the squash, red onion, olive oil, and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine thoroughly. Spread the squash and onions on an oiled sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until the squash is just cooked through and the squash and onions are browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cut the endive into 1/2-inch slices. Cut off the stem end of the frisée, separate the leaves, and cut them into smaller pieces. Core and roughly chop the radicchio. Combine the endive, frisée, radicchio, and spinach in a nonreactive mixing bowl; toss with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette. Arrange the greens on six plates.

Heat the broiler. Slice the goat cheese into 6 rounds and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil until just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Top each plate of greens with the still-warm squash and onions. Drain the raisins and sprinkle them, the toasted walnuts, and the bacon, if using, around the plate. Garnish with a round of warmed goat cheese. Drizzle a few teaspoons of the remaining vinaigrette around each plate and serve. Reserve extra vinaigrette for another use.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : 1/2 dressing without bacon; Calories (kcal): 450; Fat (g): fat g 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 11; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 38; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 8; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 490; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 15; Fiber (g): fiber g 10;

Photo: Martha Holmberg

I served this salad with some slight changes for Thanksgiving and it was yummy. I used spring mix lettuce, swapped the walnuts for roasted pumpkin seeds and the goat cheese for feta. I also added corn and fresh basil. I skipped the port part, but included the raisons. The dressing was bland so I added orange juice (Five Alive actually because that is all I had) and it turned out much better. I also used olive oil instead of peanut oil. The roasted butternut squash and red onions were tasty. It's my new favourite salad!

I am going to make this again for the second time tonight it was so good the first time. I left off the the goat cheese and substituted pancetta for the bacon. YUM

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