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Roasted Squash Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

Curry powder is known to aid digestion and boost metabolism. It adds great warmth and spice to this vinaigrette, which also makes a delicious marinade for meat and fish. Candied walnuts, tender cubed acorn squash and juicy pears are combined to create a healthy and seasonal fall salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. water
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) walnut halves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Olive oil for brushing, plus 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml)
  • 1 acorn squash, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch
      (2-cm) cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 6 cups (6 oz./185 g) mixed salad greens, preferably including
      radicchio and arugula
  • 1 large pear, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 oz. (60 g) crumbled fresh goat cheese

Directions:

In a heavy, nonstick fry pan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 20 seconds. Add the walnuts and sauté until the nuts are lightly toasted and coated with the sugar mixture, about 4 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with salt. Using a fork, separate the nuts and let cool completely.

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.

Place the squash in a bowl, drizzle with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the curry powder and toss to coat evenly. Spread the squash cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring once, until tender and golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, vinegar, the remaining 1/2 tsp. curry powder and the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil.

In a large bowl, combine the salad greens, squash and pear. Add about two-thirds of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Taste and add more vinaigrette if needed. Top the salad with the goat cheese and walnuts and serve immediately. Serves 2 to 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014).