Caramelized Butternut Squash and Red Onion Wedges tossed with Spiced Pecans, Cranberries, Gorgonzola Cheese and mixed greens is an incredibly delicious harvest salad perfect for fall and winter. This colorful salad, dressed with a sweet and tangy apple cider vinaigrette, makes a healthy side dish or light meal.
This delicious harvest salad features butternut squash or pumpkin and wedges of red onion that have been roasted at high heat until caramelized. Roasting the vegetables concentrates their flavor and sweetness without adding sugar. The colorful salad also includes crunchy spiced pecans, port soaked cranberries, creamy Gorgonzola cheese and mixed greens tossed and drizzled with a sweet and tangy honey apple cider vinaigrette. Easy to prepare and versatile, the harvest salad makes a terrific lunch served with a cup of hot soup and some crusty bread. It can be served as side with almost any main course and it also makes a great dish to take to a potluck supper. If you wish, the salad can be topped with a protein such as thinly sliced chicken breast for a main course salad that everyone at your table will love.
Roasted Butternut Squash And Red Onion Wedges, Spiced Pecans, Port Soaked Cranberries and Gorgonzola Cheese with Mixed Greens
Serves 6 to 8, adjust the recipe accordingly,
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1 – 2 tsp. water
- 1 tsp. five-spice powder
- 1/8 tsp. cumin
- 1/8 tsp. white pepper
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 c. pecan halves
- salt to taste
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, water and all of the spices and stir until the sugar dissolves and bubbles. Add the pecans and cook, stirring, until the nuts are thickly coated, about 3 minutes. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil or parchment paper and sprinkle with salt to taste. Place in the oven and bake until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from the foil. Store in an airtight container if not using right away.
Roasted Butternut Squash And Red Onion Wedges
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lb.) peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 – 1 inch cubes
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 12 wedges (keep the stem end attached so wedges hold together)
- 2 – 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- salt to taste
Line 2 baking pans with nonstick foil or parchment. Place the red onion wedges on one pan and spread the squash on the other, making sure they don’t touch for even and rapid baking. Drizzle the squash and onion wedges with oil, toss to coat then season the vegetables with garlic and onion power, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. If the vegetables are tender but not caramelized, put under the broiler for a couple of minutes, watching so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before topping the salad.
Honey Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. honey, more or less
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Can be made ahead and stored in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake until combined when ready to serve.
To Complete The Salad
- 5 – 8 oz. mixed baby salad greens (I used baby arugula and baby spinach)
- 1/4 c. dried cranberries, plumped (I warmed them in 1 Tbsp. port wine until plump)
- 1/4 c. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Toss greens in a large bowl with just enough vinaigrette to moisten then arrange on a large serving platter. Arrange the squash and red onions on top then sprinkle the salad with the spiced pecans, cranberries and Gorgonzola cheese. Pass extra dressing at the table if you wish. You can prep all the components of the salad in advance and then assemble right before serving.
If you’ve never thought of adding roasted vegetable to a salad, you must give it a try. The flavor and texture combination in this harvest salad is beyond delicious and everyone will love it.
While I originally created this salad thinking it would be great for the holidays, I know that this year most of us are not gathering in large groups for either impromptu dinners, potlucks or holiday parties, but whomever you share your table with, this Harvest Salad would be great. The salad can be prepped early in the day and stored in individual ziplock bags with the dressing on the side. Individual salads can be assembled from the ingredients for a lunch for one or everything assembled for a salad that will easily serve 6 to 8 people. If you are going to take the salad to someone’s home, it is easily transported. The only ingredients that need to be kept cold are the greens and cheese, the rest can be kept at room temperature for several hours. When ready to serve, the greens can be toss and placed on a large serving platter then topped with the other ingredients. Easy to assemble with very little cleanup, the hostess will be happy and I believe everyone will be asking for the recipe…it is a real keeper.karen (Back Road Journal)