Fall Harvest Squash, Spinach and Mushroom Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Maple Dressing

This title is quite the mouthful but the salad was a huge hit this past Thanksgiving weekend and the PERFECT way to use up your leftovers after your gobble-icious feast. It didn’t take long at all to put together but the flavour combination is DELISH and looks pretty fancy-shmancy. Using my leftover roasted veggies, it’ll be our go to salad this week to make use of the remaining Thanksgiving leftovers we have – a side of turkey would make it even better!IMG_1036.JPG

If you’re planning to take a salad for a potluck this season, it’s also a really good side to bring since each aspect of the salad can be prepared a couple days before and assembled the day of. Each component of the salad brings it’s own taste, flavour and textural characteristic and works in a magical way in your mouth. Mmmmmmmm!!

Ingredients:

Salad Base

  • Approx 6 cups fresh spinach (I used the pre-washed, bagged stuff)
  • 1 small butter nut squash (approx 1.5 cups – 375 mL), pealed, cubed (approx 1.5 cm cubes)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic, minced
  • 1 small package (approx 227g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, halved/cut into pieces
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Dressing 

  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp (7 mL) dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • Salt/pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Set aside spinach in a large bowl.
  3. On a baking sheet, evenly spread cubed butter nut squash. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt/pepper and thyme (optional). Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Turn squash then stick back into oven for additional 10 minutes or until squash is golden and “fork tender.” Remove from oven and cool. img_1006
  4. In a large pan on medium-high heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant (but not burned). Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms soften and juices are cooked off (approx 10 minutes). Set aside and cool. img_1023
  5. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for the dressing. Set aside. img_1063
  6. When ready to serve, top spinach with cooled butternut squash, mushroom, dollops of goat cheese and walnuts. Add dressing right before serving or keep on the side for guests to add on their own/per preference.
  7. NOM!

Tips & Tricks

  • No need to be precise with this recipe. Mess around with the proportions based on your preference. Like more mushrooms – add more! Love more cheese – dollop more on yours!
  • Like your dressing a bit sweeter? Stir in an additional 1/2 tbsp maple syrup!
  • Each cooked component can keep for a couple days in the fridge before serving which can save lots of time if you’re cooking tons of things for big dinner parties. No need to warm the squash/mushrooms before serving – it tastes great straight from the fridge or at room temperature.
  • Sub the butter nut squash with your other fav root veggies – there’s lots to choose from this time of year! I used my leftover yams/sweet potatoes and acorn squash when I ran out of butternut!
  • This dressing is our new staple for any light salads. It’s pretty versatile!
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