Monday, November 5, 2012

Autumn Salad

Perfect Pairing:  Help from the grocery store

The alternate name for this salad was Maple Roasted Butternut Squash, Thyme Mushroooms and Roasted Chicken Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Cranberries.  While informative, it proved to be bit of a mouthful.  I decided to stick with Autumn Salad.
I am a bit of a sandwich and salad snob.  Lunch meat on bread just does not do anything for me.  I need to have something exciting on it like caramelized onions, sriracha aioli, sprouts, etc.  You get the idea.  Apparently I think things like caramelized onions are “exciting”.  Don’t judge.  The same thing goes with salad.  I like to add lots of different vegetables, textures, and flavors without adding a lot of fat and calories from cheese or fried toppings. 
This Autumn Salad is chock-full of good stuff.  The ingredient list may look long but chances are you have a lot of this in your kitchen already.  Often salads feel like a warm-weather thing but this salad is perfect for cooler weather.  It is almost comfort food.  I kept all of the components separate and ate the salad for dinner over a few days.  I looked forward to dinner each night!  The maple roasted squash would actually be a great side dish on its own. 

The Perfect Pairing for this salad is to take some help from the grocery store.  Buying pre-peeled and cubed squash, cleaned and sliced mushrooms, and rotisserie chicken will cut down on some of the prep time.  When I made this my plan was to use rotisserie chicken but they were out.  So annoying.  I actually had to cook my own chicken.  You could also use your favorite store bought dressing if you don’t want to make your own.  Yum!  I think I will be making this again very soon!
Autumn Salad
Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing

·         1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cored and cubed
·         1 red onion, roughly chopped
·         1 Tb olive oil
·         2 Tb maple syrup
·         Salt and pepper
·         16 oz sliced mushrooms
·         1 Tb fresh thyme leaves
·         1 Tb butter, melted
·         Salt and pepper
Chicken (you can skip this by using rotisserie):
·         1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
·         2 tsp olive oil
·         Salt and pepper
·         1 Tb Dijon mustard
·         3 Tb apple cider vinegar
·         1 Tb maple syrup
·         3 Tb olive oil
·         Sprinkle of garlic powder
·         Salt and pepper
·         Arugula and/or field greens
·         ½ cup dried cranberries
·         ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
·         Parmesan shavings
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl toss the cubed butternut squash, red onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread into an even layer on a greased baking sheet.  Bake until tender, about 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the same bowl combine the sliced mushrooms, thyme, butter, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until the mushrooms are lightly coated in the melted butter.  Pour into a baking dish and bake until tender, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the same bowl toss the chicken with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
To make the dressing combine the mustard, vinegar, syrup, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and garlic powder in a small jar with a lid.  Shake to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the salad top the arugula and/or field greens with the warm squash/onion mixture, warm mushrooms, chicken, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and parmesan shavings.  Drizzle with dressing.

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