Well, November is officially upon us… though, you couldn’t tell here in Austin, TX as it is still hot outside!!! Ugh. All I want to do is make hearty soups and drink coffee snuggled up in a huge blanket, but alas, I’m still in shorts and making salads. That’s where this recipe comes in. It’s the best of both worlds. A savory, hearty salad with fresh baby spinach, roasted winter veggies, creamy blue cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts in a light red wine vinaigrette. I had something very similar to this at the cafe in Central Market, and knew I must try to replicate it immediately. And let me tell you, I will certainly be having this all fall/winter long… even if it never gets cold!
Spinach Salad with Winter Vegetables
Bunch fresh baby spinach
1/2 butternut squash (peeled, cut into bite size pieces)
2 zucchini (cut into bite size pieces)
2 yellow squash (cut into bite size pieces)
good olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
crumbled blue cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400˚
Make sure all the vegetables are cut to similar sized pieces to ensure they cook the same. Toss in about 1/2 tablespoon good olive oil, enough to coat. Liberally salt and pepper them. Put them in a baking pan and roast for 20 minutes. Let cool a bit.
Make the vinaigrette: Add the vinegar, dijon, salt, pepper and about 3 teaspoons of olive oil to a bowl. Whisk to emulsify. Taste it to make sure there is enough seasoning. (You could also add finely chopped shallots or garlic to this)
To toast the pine nuts just add them to a small pan over medium or medium high heat. Toss constantly. Once they become fragrant and start to brown a little they are done. This whole process should take no more than 4 minutes. And keep an eye on them, they burn very easily!
Assemble: Toss the fresh spinach in the vinaigrette and put in a salad bowl. Top with the roasted veggies, then the blue cheese, and then the pine nuts.