Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Salad
with sweet and spicy pecans / lentils / goat cheese
This salad features two fall favorites - delicata squash and Brussels sprouts. Roasting them in some of the balsamic vinaigrette that's used to dress the finished salad brings out a natural sweetness in the vegetables.
Smarts: Delicata squash is one of the easiest types of squash to prepare because you can eat the peel. Just scrape out the seeds and cook the slices of squash with the peel on. If you can't find delicata squash, butternut will work well (but needs to be peeled first).
- Vinegar, balsamic - 2 Tbsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 1 tsp
- Maple syrup - 1 tsp
- Oil, cooking - 5 Tbsp
- Squash, delicata - 12 oz , sliced (sub cubed butternut squash)
- Brussels sprouts - 12 oz , halved
- Lentils, cooked - 1 1/2 cups (look for vacuum-packed or canned)
- Foil - for roasting
- Balsamic Vinaigrette (ingredients listed separately) - 2 Tbsp + 5 Tbsp
- Salad greens - 8 oz (like baby spinach, baby kale, or arugula)
- Golden raisins - 1/2 cup
- Goat cheese - 4 oz , crumbled
- Ginger, fresh - 1/2 tsp , grated
- Parchment paper - for cooling
- Pecan halves - 1/2 cup
- Butter - 1 Tbsp
- Brown sugar - 1 1/2 tsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Salt - 1/4 tsp
Make vinaigrette - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating before continuing with prep.) Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and maple syrup. Add oil while whisking. Season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make sweet and spicy pecans - Grate ginger. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (this is where you’ll transfer the pecans to cool). Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and stir for 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Add butter and stir until melted. Add ginger, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles caramel and coats pecans, 2 to 3 minutes more. (Watch it very carefully and remove it from the heat if you see or smell any signs of burning.) Spread pecans out over parchment paper. Cool completely before storing at room temperature. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Squash / Brussels sprouts - Prep as directed. (Note: If using delicata squash, cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds before slicing. There’s no need to remove the outer peel - it is edible and will get tender when roasted.) Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Lentils - If using canned lentils, drain and rinse.
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Heat oven to 500F / 260C.
Spread Brussels sprouts out onto a sheet pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for ~10 minutes.
Remove foil and add squash to Brussels sprouts. Add first portion of vinaigrette and toss everything together. Season with some salt and pepper.
Return pan to oven and roast vegetables for another 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through cooking, until tender and crisp around the edges.
Transfer vegetables to a mixing bowl and allow them to cool for a few minutes. (Toss them a few times to help them cool more quickly.)
To assemble salads add salad greens, lentils, raisins, and second portion of vinaigrette to roasted vegetables. Toss to combine. Top with crumbled goat cheese and pecans. Enjoy!