Roasted Squash and Spinach Salad (fall)

Roasted Squash and Spinach Salad (fall)

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Serves 4

1 medium delicata squash, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings or half-moons
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
4 oz baby spinach, washed and dried (about 7 cups)
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/3 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
2 oz shaved ricotta salata*
Saba** or traditional balsamic vinegar, for drizzling (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle. Place cleaned spinach in a large salad bowl.

Toss squash rings in bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the underside of the squash is blistery and brown and fork tender, 10-12 minutes.

Once squash is almost ready, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small frying pan. Add shallot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, scraping up any bits that are stuck to the bottom, and immediately remove from heat.

Pour shallot mixture over spinach, add squash and pumpkin seeds, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, if needed.

Divide salad onto plates. Sprinkle with ricotta salata shavings, and drizzle with saba or balsamic vinegar (if using). Serve immediately.

*Ricotta salata, or “salted ricotta,” is a harder and more savory version of typical ricotta cheese. Make shavings by using a vegetable peeler.

**Unlike traditional balsamic vinegar, saba is not aged in barrels and is created by boiling the grape must until it is simply reduced and thickened. Read more about balsamic vinegar.

Related post: Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Swoon Over

  1. Abby

    Jane first made this for me as a vegetarian side for Thanksgiving a few years back. It is simply delish! It is a wonderful dish to have to counter a lot of the heavy food that is on the typical Thanksgiving table.

    The ricotta salata is pretty critical to the salad. The texture (creamy, but firm) and the saltiness really add to the salad. I would recommend feta if you don’t have access to the ricotta salata.

  2. jane

    Thanks for the comment, Abby! Good point about using feta as an alternative to ricotta salata.

  3. kme

    The Eastern European / Mediterranean deli at our Fresh Farms market on Touhy vends about a dozen fetas… after several months of tasting, cooking and eating, the “French sheep’s milk” is now my ‘regular’ — very creamy; salty in a deeply savory way; with no vinegary/acidic bite whatsoever.
    I think this salad will go on my “appetizer” bill this year — but not plated. I’ll bring along a bagful of my Ikea glass bowls and a cup of chopsticks. It’ll balance all the yummy pate’s, prosciutto goodies, and chutneys… I’m excited.
    Thanks for sharing, Jane.

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