It’s officially fall in Dallas! Okay, it may go back up to 80+ degrees later this week, but for now, it’s cooler and I’ll take it. This was the perfect salad to not only help mark the beginning of fall, but also fill us up at lunchtime. Be sure to save time and get those bags of cubed butternut squash from Trader Joe’s–they are a lifesaver!
PS: You can save this recipe too for post-Thanksgiving leftovers and sub the rotisserie chicken for turkey.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH CHICKEN, CRANBERRIES, WALNUTS & GOAT CHEESE + SHALLOT APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE
- Inspired by Ina Garten
- Yields: 4 lunch-sized salads
For the salad:
- 1/2 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded & meat removed from bones
- 24 oz. prepared, cubed raw butternut squash *I love the Trader Joe’s brand
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 4 oz. goat cheese, divided
- 1/2 lb. spring/baby spinach salad mix
For the dressing:
- 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup pure apple juice or apple cider
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. shallots, minced
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- For the chicken: Remove all the skin from the chicken and discard. Then remove all meat from the bones and add it to a cutting board. Once all the meat has been removed, discard the chicken bones or save for homemade roasted chicken stock. Dice up the chicken into bite-sized chunks and set half of the meat aside. The second half can be saved for another recipe.
- For the butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, add the extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and the cubed, raw butternut squash. Toss to combine and roast for 15-20 minutes until fork-tender. Shake the pan once halfway through baking. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- For the shallot apple cider vinaigrette: While the squash is roasting, combine the maple syrup, apple juice/apple cider, apple cider vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, extra virgin olive oil, pinch of sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Divide into mason jars for storing and set aside. Refrigerate until ready to serve.* *Allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
- To assemble: Divide the lettuce evenly between 4 Tupperware containers. Add a layer of Saran wrap on top to separate the toppings to prevent the lettuce from becoming soggy. To each container, add 1/4 of the rotisserie chicken, 1/4 of the roasted butternut squash, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup dried cranberries and 1 oz. goat cheese. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with room temperature dressing.