meatless monday: roasted winter squash salad

C is for Cookie. Party. 2011.

Cookies, cakes, eggnog, pies, cheese, chocolate, dips, pudding, cream, breads, butter, sugar, salt, drinks drinks drinks…the December diet! All of the above are in season, but so is winter squash (like kabocha, delicata, and acorn). Try 101 Cookbooks’ Roasted Winter Squash Salad when  you decide to give your gut the night off. Like, tonight.

Heidi Swanson’s Roasted Winter Squash Salad 
1 pound / 450 g roasted winter squash*, cut into 1-inch / 2.5-cm chunks, skin removed

4 celery stalks (with leaves if possible), diced
1/ 2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 big handfuls toasted walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried currants / dried figs

2/3 cup / 160 ml beer (something along the lines of Anchor Steam)
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

If you haven’t already roasted your squash, start there*.

In the meantime, make the dressing by whisking together the beer, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, honey, and salt. Taste, adjust with more sugar or salt if needed, and set aside.

Toss the squash in a large bowl with about a third of the dressing. Let it sit for a minute or two, add more dressing, and most of the celery, red onions, walnuts, and currants. Toss again. You’ll likely have dressing left over, but this is a salad you should overdress in the beginning – the squash really drinks it up. Also, taste for seasoning at this point and add more salt if needed. Sprinkle with the remaining celery, red onions, walnuts, and currants, and enjoy. Let sit at least 5-10 minutes and serve.

Serves 6.

*Toss 1 1/2 inch thick slabs of (de-seeded) squash with a few gluts of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, and 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary in the top third of a 425F / 220C oven until completely tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and let sit until cool enough to handle. For this recipe, slice into 1-inch / 2.5 cm chunks, leaving the skin behind.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 20 min

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