Admittedly, we’re not huge salad fans; so many of them consist of wilted, soggy greens, watery dressing and nothing more. Even though I love vegetables, there’s nothing appealing about flavorless lettuce.
This salad, however, totally changed my tune: roasted, crunchy hazelnuts (an excellent source of protein and fiber), sweet roasted butternut squash, and pungent blue cheese, served over lightly-dressed fresh greens.We chose a Danish blue for this salad because of its firmness, combined with a milky-sweet flavor. Danish blue is made in the same style as one of our other favorite cheeses, Roquefort, except it’s made with cow’s milk rather than sheep’s milk.
The unctuous blue cheese is the perfect accompaniment for the slightly tart dressing, pleasantly sweet roasted butternut squash, and crunchy hazelnuts. Everything about this salad screams fall and, luckily for me, there are no soggy greens in sight.
I roasted the hazelnuts at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready once the nutty, irresistible smell comes seeping out of the oven. Once they’re done roasting, rub the hazelnuts between a clean dish towel to remove their papery skins (which you can then throw away).
The act of peeling, cutting up and roasting a butternut squash might seem arduous, but I promise, everything else is so easy and the end result so good that you certainly won’t regret it.
Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter: @smithratliff.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Mixed greens
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, the remaining 3 tbsp. of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the squash, hazelnuts, greens, and onion and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the blue cheese.