Roasted Squash Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

November 10, 2014

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette | One Hungry Mama

It always takes me until after Halloween to realize that, yup, it’s all about fall foods. No more stray berries or plums. Even lighter greens are going away in these parts. It’s officially time for apples and dark greens, pears and squash. I guess it has been for a little while, but I’m just processing now. One of the ways that I love to transition from the lighter foods of summer to the heartier foods of fall is to make big autumn salads like this one with roasted squash.

Salads are an all-year-around food, but the ones founded on a bed of baby lettuces will always have a lighter, summer-spring essence for me. Then I build in winter or fall using roasted veggies and this Maple Mustard Vinaigrette. I’m working on slowly accepting the change of season. Little by little.

This salad is very laid back and can be built however you like. The main ingredients are the roasted squash, which you can cook ahead of time, and the Maple Vinaigrette. The rest is customizable. I use a spring mix of baby lettuces, sunflower seeds and, sometimes, dried cranberries and/or feta cheese.

Roasting squash is super easy. This recipe for basic roasted squash is an easy-to-follow how-to if you’ve never done it before. In that recipe, I cut the squash into cubes which works well in salads: That’s how I do it for this Escarole Salad with Squash and Cheddar. Alternatively, you can roast the squash with its skin on. This works particularly well with Acorn Squash, which is what you see in the picture. In addition to salt, herbs and oil, you can toss the raw squash with a little maple syrup before roasting, too, to tie in the flavors of the dressing. Just don’t over do it: You don’t want this to be sweet.

If you roast the squash in wedges, start building the salad by tossing the greens and any little add-in’s like nuts and cheese with the dressing. Leave a little extra in the jar to drizzle onto the cooked squash wedges and then add them to the greens.

This is an especially great salad to make if you’re also feeding little ones since squash is such a great early food. If your baby is managing soft finger foods, hand over a whole wedge! Otherwise, mash the squash into a bowl for them. Either way, drizzle the squash with a little bit of dressing even for very beginner eaters to give a depth of flavor.

Maple Vinaigrette
(Can be shared with kids 6+ mos)
Makes about 1/3 cup of dressing

1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon grainy mustard (you can substitute Dijon mustard)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. If you have the time, add garlic to a bowl or mason jar, top with vinegar, and allow it to sit 5-10 minutes. Otherwise, skip to the next step.

2. Add all ingredients except for the olive oil, salt and pepper, to the bowl or mason jar and whisk or shake until well combined.

3. If using a bowl, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl, whisking all the while, until the dressing emulsifies. If using a jar, add the oil, reseal and shake some more, until the dressing emulsifies. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and taste again. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

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