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Warm Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Zesty Vinaigrette

Nov 21, 2014 12:00AM ● By Brandi Barnett

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Zesty Vinaigrette

December 2014
By Lana Granfors
Photos: Kara Stewart

Whether you’re planning your Christmas dinner menu or you’ve been asked to bring a side salad to the family dinner, this is a wonderful choice. 
This show-stopping, delicious spinach salad is piled high with jewel-toned butternut squash, red grapes and cranberries and will add an unexpected pop of color to your holiday table spread as well as healthy nutrients to the meal. 
This simple and vibrant holiday salad, while perfect for the Christmas table, is also a great option for that annual holiday potluck and would work well on your New Year’s celebration table.   
Enjoy and happy holidays!

Yield: Serves 6-8
    1     (1½-lb.) butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½- or ¾-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
    2     T. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    3     tsp. roughly chopped fresh rosemary
    1     tsp. salt
    ½     tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    ¼      cup dried cranberries
    2     T. red wine vinegar
    2     T. minced shallots (about 1 small)
    1     tsp. finely grated lemon zest
    2     tsp. Dijon mustard
    ½     cup olive oil
    6     cup fresh spinach, loosely packed
    ½     cup walnut halves, toasted
    ½     cup crumbled feta cheese
    1     cup seedless red grapes, sliced in half

1 | Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.         

2 | Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tsp. rosemary, and season with 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 25-30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender and golden.  Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes cooking time. Remove from the oven, and cover to keep warm.

3 | While the squash is roasting, whisk together the vinegar, shallots, lemon zest, remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, mustard.  As you whisk, slowly add the remaining 4 tablespoons (½ cup) of olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the dressing is thickened and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to desired taste.   

4 | To serve, combine in a large salad bowl, the warm squash, walnuts, the spinach, grapes, feta cheese, with the vinaigrette, and toss gently to coat. Divide among salad plates and serve immediately. 

Total Time: 45-50 minutes; Prep: 15-20 minutes; Cook: 30 minutes