Before Christmas, Vore and I had a little get away to the mountains. Our first stop was Asheville, NC, to see the Biltmore mansion. (Loved it!) Then we headed over to Gatlinburg to meet my family for a few days of chalet fun.
The Biltmore was a blast. One of Vore’s co-workers suggested we rent bikes to ride around the grounds and she was spot on. Such fun! We enjoyed the Candlelight Christmas tour, visited the winery and had lunch at Deerpark–a highlight.
“Taste of the South Lunch Buffet” was on tap for both of us. I was so intrigued with the menu that I asked the hostess if I could nab one. Vore hid around the corner in embarrassment. Never mind that: I’m in possession of a copy now. Sweet!
The dish you see below was inspired by Deerpark’s “Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Fresh Chestnuts, Cranberries and Sage Vinaigrette.” You can see I was pretty liberal in my interpretation. Chestnuts are so hard to find! And fresh cranberries require far too much sugar to be palatable. But the colors and the spirit are there in this hearty salad. So, without further adieu…
Winter Squash Sage Salad
1.5-2 lbs small winter squash. (I used acorn and dumpling)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon mayo or Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
a few handfuls of your favorite salad greens
2 ounces goat cheese, about 1/4 cup crumbled
*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
*Cut the squash in half, then scoop out the slime and seeds. Slice into thin wedges. Place the wedges on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, being careful not to overcrowd. Roast for 30-40 minutes. (Cooking time will depend on how thick you’ve sliced your squash and how brown you like your veggies.)
*Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mayo, mustard, sage, salt and pepper.
*Add the cooked squash and pumpkin seeds to the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Gently fold in the pomegranate arils. At this point, you may refrigerate for an hour or so if you’d like a cool salad or serve immediately if you’re going for warm. It’s good both ways!
*Spread your greens on a serving platter. Spoon the squash mixture over the greens, then sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles.
We loved every bite of this nutrient rich salad. A few notes on the pomegranate: You can skip the mess of scooping them from the fruit and buy the arils in a ready-to-eat cup. I’m thinking a smaller amount of dried cranberries would work here as well. A 1/4 cup, perhaps?