So, did you gobble till you wobble’d?
I know I did.. between having a houseful of teenagers on Wednesday, Thanksgiving, and dinners out to celebrate a birthday, my pants are feeling a wee bit snugger than they did at the beginning of last week. It definitely “tis the season” – which for me means I need to lighten up between between all the bouts of celebratory meals headed my way. Is this sounding just a little familiar? Yeah, I thought so.
So, what do you do to lighten up your eating?
For me, I try to keep it simple…. and manageable.. and stuff that my family will not only eat, but actually enjoy.
Which means that I make more hearty salads and soups for dinner. I love that I can prep everything ahead and put them together right before we eat – which is always a good thing but even better at this time of year when it seems there simply aren’t enough hours in the day and cooking takes a back seat to other demands for my time. So, I am always looking for new combinations and riffs on the classics to keep it interesting… and nutritious! This salad is a great example of what I’m talking about. It’s hearty enough without meat but also pairs well with a roasted chicken.. which is also a great thing to make during this time of the year …. but that’s another story!
To make this even easier, use pre cut chunks of butternut squash. If you can't find marcona almonds, pecans would be delicious in the salad as well. I used arugula but you could also use watercress. Radicchio would also be a great addition to this salad.
Adapted from Roasted Panzanella With Chili Croutons b y David Suarez
- 6 cups day old baguettes, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. chile powder
- 3 small shallots, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 4 cups peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, shitake and or oyster)
- 1/2 cup marcona almonds
- 6 cups arugula, washed and dried
- 6 Tbsp. crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 Tbsp. sherry wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- To make the croutons, pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Add the cut up baguette cubes and toss with 3 Tbsp. olive oil and season with chile powder and salt. Bake croutons until crisp and brown, about 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
- Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Spray a large sheet pan with cooking spray. Add the butternut squash and mushrooms. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the squash is tender and the mushrooms are brown, about 25 minutes. While the squash is roasting, combine the shallots and sherry vinegar in a medium bowl. Add the remaining olive oil to the sherry vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
- To make the salad combine the arugula, butternut squash, mushrooms, arugula and croutons in large salad bowl. Drizzle with the sherry vinegar dressing and toss thoroughly to coat. Divide mixture among plates/shallow bowls. Garnish with the marcona almonds and the goat/feta cheese. Serve.