People love a good salad. There's nothing better than a perfectly slicked salad with just the right amount of mix ins to compliment a dinner party menu. But I like to keep the salad simple. There's no need to over complicate it when you've got a table full of appetizers, sides and a trophy entree. The key to a winning salad is to have a variety of textures and flavors, but all you really need is something salty, something sweet and something crunchy. The butternut squash is seasoned and roasted with a a bit of chili powder and salt, pomegranate arils are thrown in for sweetness and a three-seed trio spiced with cinnamon and cardamom for texture. In effort to keep this vegan, I skimped on the cheese but a a goat or blue cheese would go nicely here. Reserve any extra salad dressing to drizzle on roasted vegtables or to use as marinades during the week.
For the Salad
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1.5" cubes
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- kosher salt, to taste
- 5 ounces dark baby greens like kale and spinach
- 1/ 2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds or pepitas
- 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
- 1/ 8 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1/ 8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/ 8 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the Dressing
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 1/ 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- kosher salt, to taste
- Coarsely cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1/ 2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425°F
On a parchment lined sheet pan, add butternut squash, chili powder, salt and oil. Mix to thoroughly coat each piece and roast for 35 minutes or until golden brown and fork tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before adding to the salad.
While the squash is roasting, whisk together the cinnamon, cardamom and coconut sugar in a small bowl.
In a small nonstick fry pan, over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp hearts until golden brown. Add the hot seeds to the sugar and spice mixture and stir to combine. Allow to cool.
Whisk together the shallots, red wine vinegar, coconut sugar, harissa, mustard, salt, pepper in a small. Stream in oil until completely emulsified. Season to taste.
In a large salad bowl, add greens, roasted squash, pomegranate arils, spiced seeds, and half of the dressing. Toss to combine and serve immediately.