I should have taken more pictures of it. This isn’t even really the finished salad, just the almost-finished salad. The finished version disappeared too fast to take pictures. (The finished salad has chopped nuts and dressing on it).
This is the perfect winter salad, and the perfect antidote the cookies, cakes, cocktails, and candy that apparently we’re supposed to all be making and eating because it’s the holiday season. Cookies are good and all but this salad is actually real food that’s delicious and you can eat for dinner and not feel like death afterwards. The salad components are simple: roasted butternut squash and red onions, a bag of salad mix from the farmers market, leftover roasted chicken, and some chopped candied pecans. Oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, then it’s ready to eat. The candied pecans are a whole separate story… My next door neighbors gave me a bag of pecans from their trees, and I guess I drank a ton of coffee the other day and actually sat down and shelled them all and made this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts. It took forever to shell all of them, but jars of the finished nuts are nice Christmas presents that took time instead of money, which was very of important to me this year. You could certainly substitute any kind of toasted nuts if you don’t feel like making this recipe, although I highly recommend it. There’s a pinch of cayenne pepper in the spice mix that coats the nuts that really makes it taste amazing.
Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year! I hope you all are warm and happy, with good food on your table and friends and family close by.
WINTER SALAD with Butternut Squash, Roast Chicken and Candied Pecans
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
- a few sprigs of fresh herbs: thyme, oregano, rosemary, whatever you have is fine
- sea salt and black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- vinegar: apple cider vinegar or whatever you have
- 1/2 lb. of mixed salad greens: use a spicy mix with some arugula and mustard greens in it
- 1/2 c. candied pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 c. or so of leftover roast chicken, cut into cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the butternut squash and onions onto a cookie sheet with the fresh herbs. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
Put the salad greens in a bowl. Top with roasted vegetables, chopped chicken and pecans. Dress with oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.