Eating In: Roasted Squash Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Weeknight dinners are always an attempt to find a comprise between the healthy, the delicious, and the quick. And now also to use up the produce from the CSA box before it goes bad or before a new box comes with more squash (SQUAAAAAASH).
CSA Lesson #432: Butternut squash is much more of an endeavor when it comes whole versus in those cute little cubes they sell at the grocery store.
Anyway, minus one snag to which I’ll alert you later, this recipe hit most of the marks we’re looking for in a weeknight dinner. So let’s get into it.
First off, you toast some pine nuts. I’m rubbish at toasting nuts – it’s like making caramel, it’s not done enough or it’s waaaay overdone – but these came out pretty well.

Meanwhile, peel and quarter your squash. I did not peel it. This was my mistake.

You see, the original recipe used acorn squash, and once cooked you can scoop the flesh out of the peel to eat it. Unfortunately, when cooked, the peel of the butternut squash sticks to its flesh like gum to a toddler’s hair. And it’s not so fun to eat. So learn from my mistakes. Peel it.

The squash gets cookin’ in the oven.

When the squash is about done or cooling, you mix up a very simple salad.

And in the end, top the squash with the salad, the pine nuts, and the goat cheese. The original recipe said extra vinegar was optional, and while it is optional, to me extra vinegar is never optional (you’re talking to someone who could drink vinegar through a straw).

And voila! A healthy, pretty simple, and actually quite impressive-looking dinner. (Just peel the god-d*mn squash.)

Roasted Squash Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
Adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen

The longest part of this recipe is waiting for the squash to cook (and prepping the squash) – the rest is startlingly simple and open to umpteen variations. For instance, the original recipe used acorn squash, made its own port wine vinegar, and used a mix of spinach and kale for the salad. I worked with what I had, and it was still quite tasty, so go crazy!

Yield: 2 Servings

1/4 cup pine nuts
1 medium butternut squash, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar, divided
5 oz baby spinach, washed and dried
2 oz goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread pine nuts on a large rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly golden (about 5 minutes). Set aside.

Cut squash in half and scrap out seeds. Cut into quarters.

On a large baking sheet, toss squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until tender (about 35 to 45 minutes depending on size); let cool.

In a large bowl add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, remaining olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add baby spinach, toss to combine.

To serve, divide squash among plates; place dressed salad on top of each quarter, drizzle with extra balsamic vinegar (if desired), and top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese.


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