The very first thing I must say is that this blog post is not one of those guilt-inducing salad posts that began to appear online around about now each year. Everyone knows food resolutions don't start until the fridge is absolutely bare and the last chocolate is eaten. This is simply a recipe post for a delicious winter salad to add to, and not in any way subtract from, the Christmas festivities. I am one of those all-year-round salad eaters and I think my favourite type of food comes into its own at Christmas time. We are surrounded by rich and heavy food and salad can offer a welcome relief.
My run up to Christmas has been a little different to usual. I was hit with a whopper migraine early last week and just as I was coming round from it, along came the dismal flu. It meant that I missed the usual pre-holiday get togethers and much of the eating that goes with them. I'm coming round now and ready to make up for it. I have a cheese board with my name on it and a bottle of bubbles in the fridge. So out of necessity lunch had to be something light and not too filling. This salad fits the bill perfectly.
Happy St. Stephen's Day and keep scrolling for the recipe for this delicious Goat Cheese, Squash and Pomegranate Salad
200g butternut squash, cut into small cubes
150g soft goat cheese
3 large handfuls of baby spinach
Seeds of a quarter of a pomegranate
1/3 cup pecan nuts
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season the squash
For the dressing:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
Large pinch sea salt
Large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Toss the cubes of butternut squash in a tablespoon of olive oil and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Place on a baking tray in the oven for 25 minutes or until the squash is tender.
Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of maple syrup in a small pot. Just when it starts to caramelise, add the pecan nuts and stir to coat. Remove from the heat and spread the nuts out on some parchment paper to cool. Once cooled, roughly chop.
To make the dressing, place all the dressing ingredients in a small jar. Secure the lid tightly and shake well.
Once the squash is cooked remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for ten minutes. To assemble the salad, place the spinach in the base of your serving dish. Spoon the roast squash on top. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss well with the squash and spinach. Roughly chop the goat cheese and add it to the salad along with the pomegranate seeds and the pecan nuts.
Serve straight away and enjoy.