This Roasted Autumn Harvest Salad is hearty enough to stand on its own, but also makes for a colorful side salad. Loaded with roasted delicata squash, beets and apples, it’s the perfect way to showcase flavorful fall produce!
What do you consider the “start” of winter?
I mean, I know technicallllly the calendar says that winter doesn’t start until December 21st, but let’s be real, does anyone actually go by that?
If not, where do we draw the line? Does “winter” start the first day of December? The day after Thanksgiving? The first snowfall? (That last one may be problematic for you Southern folk.. or those living in the unpredictable climate of Upstate New York) Winter in October? Yeah, no thanks.
For all intensive purposes of today’s post, we’re going to go by the calendar and say that winter does not start for 3 more weeks (mainly because I just realized that it’s December 1st and I’m sharing an “Autumn Harvest” salad). Whoops.
BUT in my defense, this recipe does use “winter” squash.. which means that it could essentially fall into either seasonal category. So basically, this salad is perfect for the awkward seasonal transition period that is early December. Speaking of seasonal transitions, did I mention that it was 60 degrees yesterday in Columbus? Today we’ll be lucky if we hit 40. Like I said, awwwkwarrrrd.
Anyways, I’ve been enjoying this salad for weeks (months?) now, so I figured it was about time I shared it with you. And although it may not necessarily be “seasonally appropriate”, it sure as heck is delicious and you should totally make it, regardless of what the calendar says.
This salad features the Rosemary Roasted Winter Squash, Beets and Apples recipe I posted earlier this week. You could make the roasted veggies specifically for this salad or you could rely on leftovers to mix things up a bit. The best part is that the roasted squash, beets and apples are great served warm or cold in this salad. I tend to eat them cold (mostly because I like to pack this salad for a weekday lunch), but you do you.
Disclaimer: This post is not so much a recipe as it is a “throw a bunch of things on top of spinach and call it lunch (or dinner)” Heck, you can even throw an egg on top and call it breakfast.. I won’t judge. In other words, this salad is the result of taking a bunch of things in my fridge and throwing them together to form a salad. That being said, feel free to use the measurements as guide and increase or decrease ingredients as you please. I personally never measure any ingredients when I’m making my salads because I find it’s easiest to just go based on looks.
This salad is hearty enough to stand on its own as an entree, but can also serve as a colorful side. If you are serving it as a main dish, you could certainly top with your protein of choice (chicken, tofu, quinoa, salmon, chickpeas, etc.) to add a little more staying power.
I happened to use delicata squash in this recipe, but you could easily substitute butternut or acorn squash (or even sweet potatoes) instead. Delicata squash does tend to have a shorter season than most other winter squashes, which I find to be extremely unfortunate considering that it may be my favorite winter squash to cook with.
I’ll be honest though, it wasn’t always that way. Up until last year, I was alllll about the butternut squash. And while butternut squash will always have a special place in my heart, it now has to share some of that real estate with delicata squash. As much as I love me some butternut squash, it’s not always the most practical option. Because let’s face it, there are many nights where I hardly have the time or patience to cook dinner, let alone wrestle with a 5 pound squash. Enter delicata squash.
Like I mentioned, delicata squash is a member of the winter squash family and its flavor and texture resembles that of its adorned cousins, butternut and acorn. But one thing that sets it apart in my opinion is its convenience and ease of preparation. First, delicata is much smaller and more manageable than some of the other squashes out there, meaning that you can actually cut into it with a knife without simultaneously fearing for your life. WIN. Second, this squash does not require peeling. DOUBLE WIN.
That’s right, the skin of delicata squash is 100% edible. And not only that, but it tastes good too! I love the flavor and texture that the skin provides (oh, and the extra nutrients that come along with it that don’t hurt either).
I hope you’ll give this salad a try! It has quickly become one of my go-to fall (er, winter?) salads. And something tells me that one bite in and you’ll feel the same.
- Combine all ingredients (except dressing) in a large salad bowl.
- Gently toss with salad dressing (2 tbsp at a time) until you have reached desired amount.* (depending on how much dressing you prefer, you may find that you have some salad dressing left over)
- *If preparing ahead of time, do not toss salad with dressing until immediately prior to serving.
- Serves approximately 4 as an main dish or 8 as a side.