Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Salad
with sweet and spicy pecans / lentils / goat cheese
This salad that was previously featured in 2019 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
- 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
- Squash, delicata - 12 oz, sliced (sub cubed butternut squash)
- Brussels sprouts - 12 oz, halved
- Foil - for roasting
- Balsamic Vinaigrette (ingredients listed separately) - 2 Tbsp + 5 Tbsp
- Salad greens - 8 oz (like baby spinach, baby kale, or arugula)
- Lentils, cooked - 1 1/2 cups (use pre-cooked lentils or if cooking from dried, use half the amount of dried and prepare according to package directions)
- Golden raisins - 1/2 cup
- Goat cheese - 4 oz, crumbled
- 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 - 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 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)
- 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!
This was good. However: I feel like the cooking time for the squash was based on delicata but I could only find butternut squash. It took FOREVER to soften (25+ minutes) and my poor shrively overcooked brussel sprouts suffered for this. Would recommend putting squash in separate pan at same time as brussel sprouts (maybe even earlier) to avoid this.1 Helpful
The candied pecans did not work out but normal pecans tasted yummy. Also was too lazy to add the lentils and we didn't miss them. I would just roast the brussel sprouts and butternut squash in olive oil and salt -- tossing with the dressing halfway through did not work out that well. Would make again.0 Helpful
Another great cooksmarts salad! I just roasted the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper, and substituted feta and dried blueberries for the goat cheese and golden raisins.0 Helpful
This is amazing, it's very time intensive, but loved loved loved it.0 Helpful
Made the paleo with steak (flank) and original with lentils to create salad bar for all diets. Lentils on salad good. We burned the pecans :( & we decided we really don’t like brussel sprouts no matter how hard we try. Used feta yum. Good solid salad meal.0 Helpful
I cut the butternut squash into 3/4"-ish pieces, and added 5 minutes to the cook time. Turned out perfectly0 Helpful
‘A serious 5!’ my husband proclaimed. I would give 5 stars for taste, but am taking a star off for prep - some steps were a bit fiddly. As advertised nut carmelization was hard to get right without burning the nuts. I have spice sensitive family members, so used a black pepper/paprika blend instead of pepper flakes to give some spice without heat. I would recommend double or tripling the dressing and saving some to drizzle over the salad. I was not able to find delicata squash, so used butternut and another winter squash I found at the grocery store that looked similar to delicata (can’t remember the name). Unfortunately the sub squash started to rot rather quickly and was mostly seeds when I opened it up. Was glad thar I had a back up butternut squash on hand. As other reviewers suggested I roasted the brussel sprouts and squash separately. The squash/brussel directions seemed a little overly complicated to me. Next time I think I would just roast squash and brussels in olive oil/salt/pepper/garlic powder on a sheet pan without the foil step and then save the balsamic dressing to dress the salad. Didn’t have golden raisins, so subbed dried cranberries, which worked well. We also have a picky toddler and so opted to top the salad with sliced grilled chicken breasts marinated in Italian dressing instead of the lentils. This was a yummy sub for those who eat meat.0 Helpful