Do not let the title of this post intimidate you. This salad is actually quite simple to prepare. I found it last fall in one of my favorite magazines. I've made it a few times and have tweaked it a bit. We harvested a beautiful butternut squash out of our garden yesterday, so it seemed like just the right time to make this salad. If you want to add some meat, shredded chicken would be a nice choice.
Butternut Squash Salad with Hazelnuts and Blue Cheese
-adapted from Real Simple, October 2011
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1" pieces (I have used acorn and buttercup as well--both great)
- 5 T. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (you can find already peeled, chopped hazelnuts in the baking aisle with the other nuts. Alternatively, pecans or walnuts would be good substitutions)
- 1 T. red wine vinegar
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- Mixed greens
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (I always soak mine in a little ice water for awhile, it takes some of the pungency out of the onion. Can't remember where I read that, but it works!)
- 1 c. crumbled blue cheese (I am not a big blue cheese fan, so I always choose the milder Gorgonzola)
Toss the squash with 2 T. olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet (I cover mine in foil first--less clean up). Roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally, until squash is tender and golden. Cool slightly.
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet over low heat for a few minutes--watch carefully, do not let them burn. If you are short on time, just skip this step. Your salad will still be good, I promise.
Make your dressing--whisk together vinegar, remaining 3 T olive oil, and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Note: I do not think this makes enough dressing, so I always double it. We like dressing. This is basic enough to go on another salad tomorrow anyway.
Arrange greens on each of 4 plates. Top with squash, a handful of hazelnuts, some red onion, and a sprinkling of blue cheese. Add dressing to taste and toss well to combine. It makes a lovely-looking light dinner, don't ya think?