Recipe: Roasted Butternut and Pear Salad

by Sana Sandström

roasted butternut and pear saladThis Thanksgiving, have a creative starter dish introduce the meal.

You'll want something something light, but substantial enough to hold off all those growling bellies while you add finishing touches to the feast. We suggest a Roasted Butternut and Pear Salad.

Showcasing two colorful and tasty fall products, this scrumptuous salad can be prepared several hours ahead of time and be tossed together just before serving.

Roasted Butternut and Pear Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 60 minutes | Yield: 16 to 20 servings

Ingredients
• 1 medium butternut squash
• 2 teaspoons olive oil

For the dressing:
• 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil, walnut oil, or olive oil
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
• salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
• Dash freshly ground black pepper

• 2 4-ounce bags of mixed baby greens
• 2 small ripe red pears, cored and sliced (if making ahead, shake to coat with lemon juice)
• 4 ounces smoked Gouda or smoked cheddar cheese, shaved
• 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions
Peel squash; halve squash and remove seeds. Cut squash into 1-inch cubes. Toss squash pieces with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast, uncovered, in a 425° oven for 25 minutes, turning occasionally. Cool in pan on a wire rack about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, lemon juice, salt, allspice, and pepper until well combined.

To serve, arrange greens on a very large platter. Top with pear slices, cheese, and squash cubes. Drizzle dressing over the salad. Top salad with walnuts.

Cook's note
We like to substitute roasted hazelnuts for the walnuts. To roast, place the nuts in a shallow baking pan. When the squash comes out of the oven, lower the heat to 350° and bake for about 10 minutes or until toasted. Cool slightly. Place nuts on a clean kitchen towel. Rub the nuts with the towel to remove the loose skins.

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