Winter Salad with Maple-roasted Acorn Squash & Feta

squash-salad

I’m SO excited about today’s acorn squash salad recipe – for several reasons:

  1. It may be my first salad post. Like, ever. Which is odd, because I eat a lot of salads.
  2. It was inspired by a fabulous dinner we had last Sunday at Tosca, which two of our best friends took us to, in order to celebrate our engagement!
  3. See above (engagement!)

Which brings me to a quick sidebar – almost two weeks ago, on November 5th, my lovely boyfriend popped the question, and consequently became my lovely fiancé. Just like that. Kind of magical, right? It really, really was. I’m sure I’ll post more about that later because I can’t not, but for now, we’ll move on.

Let’s talk about this squash I’ve been seeing everywhere. I had yet to try it, until our amazing friends brought us to this Italian resturant that had the best roasted chicken, and the best wine, and the best roasted squash and, truly (and most importantly) the best company. We debated for a good 5 minutes about how they must cut said squash in order for it to create that beautiful flower pattern it has, and is that on purpose? And which direction do you slice it? And does all squash look like that if you slice it correctly? So, as the only food blogger at that table at that moment, I decided that I must find out. So I did. And here we are. Now, please go make this salad. It’s so easy and flavorful, and the squash kind of caramelizes and OK you go make it and I’m going to go have seconds (er, thirds).

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa
1 acorn squash (green, looks kinda like a pumpkin and an acorn)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of pepper & salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup (the good kind)
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 cups spinach
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half, and slice it into 1/4 inch slices, leaving the skin on but removing the guts and seeds. Sprinkle the squash with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Toss the squash with the vegetable oil and maple syrup, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden and caramelized.
  2. While the squash is roasting, make the quinoa according to directions on the package.
  3. Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil and lemon juice.
  4. Combine the roasted squash, quinoa and spinach together. Toss with the dressing, feta and walnuts.

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