A Christmas Salad – Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

A Christmas Salad - Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Salad with Warm Cider VinaigretteIf you’re still trying to come up with one more side dish for Christmas day then I highly recommend this recipe from Ina Garten.  It’s Christmas on a plate; roasted pumpkin, cranberries, pecans and a wonderful warm cider dressing.  It would pair perfectly with turkey or ham and if you’re in Australia, barbecued meats and seafood! The other nice thing is that whilst it can be served warm or at room temperature it’s not a heavy side dish so if you have a lot of heavy sides accompanying your meal then this will lighten and balance things out.  The other handy thing for this time of year is that all the elements can be made ahead of time and assembled just before serving. If you’re not in the States and wondering how to lay your hands on cider (this is not referring to Australian or British cider which is fermented alcoholic apple juice) then just buy unstrained unpastuerised apple juice, organic brands normally have this. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas filled with love, joy and great food!

Ingredients – Serves 6 as a side dish   Adapted from Ina Garten

1 butternut squash, peeled and ¾-inch diced
Olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons dried cranberries
¾ cup apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
150g baby rocket, washed and spun dry
½ cup pecans, toasted
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the butternut pumpkin on a sheet pan. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once, until tender and golden. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes. While the pumpkin is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about ¼ cup.

Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted pumpkin mixture, the pecans, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature.

A Christmas Salad - Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Salad with warm cider vinigarette

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