A winter salad recipe that will a perfect addition to your table, this roasted butternut squash salad is mix of flavours and textures, but will be a jewel on the table.
Every time there is an election, I have a follow a tradition that my father and I have carried out for years. We either stay up late or get up at the crack of dawn to watch the results come in. Even now, I’m writing this in the early hours of the day watching the UK election. Now, inevitable there are results that we’d prefer to see, and some elections we are thrilled in others disappointed.
In any case, the one thing I am always amazed at is that even I disagree with a candidate, I am always impressed by their willingness to put themselves forward. It takes guts, and ultimately more will fail than succeed. My hats off to all of them.
Right, politics done, let us distract ourselves by looking at Christmas. Well, I say that but, which is better, Christmas eve or Christmas day? It’s a tough call, Christmas day has presents and a roast dinner, Christmas eve has all the excitement leading up to it. In my family, it was always about Christmas eve. This is when we would throw open our doors, and invite friends and family in. Usually, they’d stop in before heading to church, for a quick bite and a drink. It was always great fun.
Key to this is the spread we’d have. It was essentially a potluck. Sure, you’d have the classics like tourtiere, and peanut butter balls. However, my mother would always try to have a few twists on the table. She liked having tandoori chicken (before it was trendy in North America), and stuffed bread. So, you’d end up having a plate with a whole assortment of items on it. All washed down with some punch or egg nog. Perfect right!
This Christmas, I’m a few thousand miles away from Nova Scotia, so I’m creating my own Christmas eve spread – Christmas Eve Feast! We’ve got tourtiere hand pies, baked chocolate candy cane donuts, Cranberry Rye and Ginger, and this showstopping winter salad.
What makes a good winter salad?
Winter salads are a tricky business, usually, people associate salads with spring/summer, where you have lots of fresh and light flavours. A winter salad, by comparison, needs to be a bit more savoury, and usually make use of the seasonal vegetables which are almost always root vegetables.
Perfect for Christmas: A delicious roasted butternut squash salad
So, this roasted butternut squash salad combines wonderful roasted butternut squash, nutty spelt, sweet candied walnuts and some bursts of freshness with feta and pomegranate seeds. It is hearty enough to be a meal in itself but also serves as a great side for all the other bits you love to eat at Christmas.
The recipe for our Cranberry Rye and Ginger will be out next week, and it is perfect for this salad.
Check out the Christmas Kitchen playlist, a bit eclectic, as Christmas should be!
Other Dishes for Christmas Eve!
- Almond Gingerbread cookies
- Polar Express cocktail – Taste and Tipple
- Whipped Feta – Dish-n-the kitchen
- Snow globe Rice Krispies treats – Food Meanderings
- Quebecois tourtiere!
What nuts should you use in winter salads
This salad uses walnuts, which have been candied. They provide a crunch and a touch of sweetness. You could also use pecans or almonds quite nicely.
What grains should you use in winter salads?
This salad has used spelt, which is lovely and nutty. However, you could also use pearl barley.
Can you make this winter salad gluten-free?
Yes, you need to leave out the spelt or pearl barley. Instead, you can leave it out completely or replace it with equal amounts of quinoa.
Can you add meat to a winter salad?
Yes, some roast chicken or roast turkey is probably. Also, some crumbled bacon would be amazing.New ButcherBox members receive 2 lbs of ground beef + 2 packs of bacon for FREE in their first box!
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
- 1 cup Cooked spelt 100g this is about ½-3/4 cup dry
- 1/2 Butternut squash (or sweet potato) cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 1/2 Red onion cut into ¼ inch strips
- 3-4 cups Baby spinach about 150g
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate seeds
- 1/3 cup Crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup EVOO
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp Sea salt
- 1/8 tsp Black pepper
- 1 tsp
Fast candied walnuts
- 1/2 cup Walnut halves
- 1/8 cup Brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp Unsalted butter
- Place all ingredients in a jar or tightly sealed container. Shake for 1 min.
Fast candied walnuts
- Heat sugar and butter over medium heat for 5 minutes until the sugar is completely melted and isn’t grainy. Add the walnuts and slowly stir frequently so your mixture doesn't burn.
- Transfer immediately onto a sheet of parchment paper and separate the nuts right away. Let cool, and then chop for salad topping.
Roasted Butternut Squash salad
- Peel and chop the squash into 3/4in chunks. Add your onion strips and drizzle in some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place this onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment, and bake in the oven at 350f for about 15min, or until cooked through with the edges just slightly crisping up and the onion is soft. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- In a large bowl, place your spinach (be sure to wash if not already clean!), followed by the cooked spelt, squash and red onion. Dress to taste with some of the vinaigrette, and then lightly toss. Be careful not to be too vigorous of the squash might break apart. Finally top with the feta, pomegranate seeds and candied walnuts.