This salad is a combination of all things wonderful in fall! The squash is roasted to a nutty brown, red pears added color and sweetness, Blue Cheese (no description required), and toasted walnuts add crunch and texture. The dressing requires some cooking, but is so worth it as it is the perfect complement to this salad. Serves 4
Prepare the salad:
1 small acorn squash, halved, peel removed, seeds and membranes removed, and cut into 1/2" slices
Olive oil spray
6 cups each baby spinach and Romaine, clean, dry, and cold
1 large red pear, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly
1 cup toasted walnut pieces
4 ounces Blue Cheese (a firm variety that can be crumbled)
Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Spray a sheet pan with non-stick spray. Spread the squash out on the sheet pan and spray lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender and brown. If the squash gets tender but isn't brown, run it under the broiler for a few minutes to color. Cool and cut slices into thirds.
Assemble the salad in either individual bowls or a large serving bowl. Place the spinach and lettuce in the bowl, then layer on the squash, pear, walnut pieces, and Blue Cheese. Serve with Pear Vinaigrette.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon very finely minced shallot
1 can pear nectar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon very finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon very finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the vegetable oil over low heat. Add the shallots and cook slowly until they are softened and just start to color a bit. Set aside to cool.
Pour the pear nectar into a small saucepan and boil until reduced by half. Set aside and cool completely.
Place all of the ingredients into the container of a blender and blend, covered, for about a minute, until the dressing begins to thicken. Serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator.