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Roasted Squash Salad with Crispy Shallot & Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Squash Salad with Crispy Shallot & Balsamic Reduction

Creating a delectable roasted squash salad with crispy shallots and a balsamic reduction is a wonderful way to embrace the rich flavors of fall and elevate your salad game. This recipe combines the sweetness of roasted squash, the crunch of crispy shallots, and the tangy richness of balsamic reduction to create a delightful dish that can stand alone or complement a variety of main courses. Follow this detailed guide to craft a roasted squash salad that’s not only visually appealing but also a burst of flavors and textures.

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • One medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into bite-sized cubes
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups mixed salad greens (arugula, spinach, or your preference)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • Vegan feta or goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

For the Crispy Shallots:

  • Three large shallots, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or a gluten-free alternative)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt to taste

For the Balsamic Reduction:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Two tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar

Instructions:

Preheat the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

Roast the Squash:

In a large bowl, toss the diced butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and black pepper until evenly coated. Spread the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and golden brown, flipping the pieces halfway through.

Prepare the Crispy Shallots:

While the squash is roasting, coat the thinly sliced shallots in flour, shaking off any excess. In a pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Fry the shallots until golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel to absorb excess fat. Sprinkle with salt while still warm.

Make the Balsamic Reduction:

In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes or until the mixture thickens into a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and let it cool.

Assemble the Salad:

In a large salad bowl, combine the roasted squash, mixed salad greens, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds (if using). Toss gently to combine.

Top with Crispy Shallots and Cheese:

Scatter the crispy shallots over the salad. If you’re using vegan feta or goat cheese, crumble it over the top.

Drizzle with Balsamic Reduction:

Just before serving, generously drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad. The sweet and tangy flavor will complement the richness of the roasted squash and the crunch of the shallots.

Serve and Enjoy:

Plate the salad and serve immediately. This dish is perfect as a side for Thanksgiving or as a standalone meal for a light lunch or dinner.

Tips:

  • Customize the salad with your favorite greens and nuts.
  • Adjust the sweetness of the balsamic reduction to your liking by adding more or less maple syrup.
  • Experiment with different types of squash, such as acorn or delicata, for a variation in flavor and texture.

This roasted squash salad with crispy shallots and balsamic reduction is a celebration of autumn flavors and textures. The combination of sweet roasted squash, crunchy shallots, and tangy balsamic reduction creates a harmonious and satisfying dish that will surely become a favorite on your fall menu.

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