this is on papa fritz’s list of top five things i make. it may be in the top three. he’ll walk toward me and say “you know what would be good this week…” and i always know he’s going to request this salad.
i’m always ok with it though, because what’s great about this salad is that it’s so easy to make. i get why he loves it too. it’s packed with flavor and texture and tastes of crisp fall days. the goat cheese is what really takes this to the next level, it’s creamy and has the perfect bite. and, the dressing has chipotle peppers in it, so it imparts a warm “glow” to the entire dish.
- one medium butternut squash
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- 2 ounces pine nuts
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- 1 chipotle in adobo, finely minced
- 1 heaped tablespoon apricot jam (or fig spread)
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
- salt and pepper
line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment and preheat the oven to 350.
peel, core, and dice the butternut into 1″ cubes, and add these to a large bowl. using your fingers, toss butternut with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste) and transfer to the baking sheet. bake for 20 minutes (or until the butternut is soft, but not yet browned). remove from the oven and set aside.
toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium high heat until they begin to brown and they smell deeply nutty. set aside. (be sure to keep an eye on these, they burn very quickly.)
wash the spinach, spin dry, and and add to a large bowl.
to make the dressing mince the chipotle and garlic and add to a small bowl. add the jam, vinegar, salt, and pepper and whisk together. while continuing to whisk, add the olive oil in a little at a time. continue to whisk until the dressing comes together and becomes creamy (this is called an emulsion). you can also use the food processor to do this.
using tongs (or your fingers) toss the spinach leaves in the dressing and then plate. top each plate with crumbled goat cheese, the toasted pine nuts, and a generous amount of the roasted butternut squash.
notes: i change up the dressing on this a lot depending on what i have laying around the house. sometimes it’s just fig spread and vinegar. sometimes i add in some dijon mustard instead of the chipotle. sometimes i just do the chipotle with no jam/spread. the combo of sweet (apricot/fig) and spicy (chipotle) is really nice here though. also, in addition to being super healthy, this recipe is gluten free!