Roasted Beet & Butternut Squash Side Salad Recipe

Try this warm side salad recipe made of beets and butternut squash during the cold winter months. 

For the past couple of years we have been members of a winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) through Foxtail Farms. Among a plethora of other fresh vegetables, the shares we received in the last months of 2016 included beets and butternut squash. I decided to combine the two, tossed with a homemade salad dressing, and have a new favorite simple side dish recipe! To make this side dish into a full meal, simply combine with mixed greens and add grilled chicken. 

Roasted Beet and Butternut Squash Side Salad

Butternut Squash - (1) Large
Beets - (3) Medium
*Aim for a 50/50 mix of squash and beets; adjust quantities as needed.
*I prefer red beets for the pretty color contrast against the butternut squash but any type will work. 
Raw or Roasted Unsalted Pecans - (1/4) Cup
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Imprecise Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel the beets and butternut squash. Remove seeds from the inside of the butternut squash. Cut both the beets and butternut squash into 1" cubes. Note: It's best to keep your cubes of similar size for even roasting and cook time. 

3. Toss the cubed beets in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the beets out, in a single layer, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Next, repeat these steps with the cubed butternut squash. Keep the beets and butternut squash on separate baking sheets in case one requires slightly more or less cooking time. 

4. Roast the beets and butternut squash, flipping occasionally, for approximately 30 - 45 minutes. They are done when they can easily be pierced with a fork. 

5. While the vegetables are roasting make the salad dressing by mixing olive oil, red wine vinegar (about 50/50 ratio), and a splash of lemon juice. 

6. Once the vegetables are done combine the beets and butternut squash in a bowl, drizzle with the salad dressing, and add chopped pecans. Mix until the beets and butternut squash are evenly coated with the dressing. Serve warm.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try - I would love to hear what you think!

P.S. Learn more about Foxtail Farms and the benefits of joining a CSA by clicking here. I also suggest this interesting article on CSA's from The New York Times

Simple Side Recipe - Roasted Delicata Squash

Roasted delicata squash with a dash of cinnamon is so easy and so tasty - you won't be able to get enough!

If you've never tried delicata squash before, now is the time! Delicata squash is sweet, savory and is a simple fall side dish. When you add a dash of cinnamon delicata squash transforms into a decadent treat. Plus, you can eat the skin so prep is so easy! 

Simple Fall Side Dish - Delicata Squash

Delicata Squash
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Imprecise Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut delicata squash into 1/2" thick rounds. Scoop out the center seeds. Do not remove the skin. 

3. In a large bowl, toss squash with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, and cinnamon and continue to toss until seasonings are evenly distributed.

4. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper and spread out squash in a single layer. 

5. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, flip squash and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. The squash is done when it is easily pierced by a fork. 

Delicata squash does not store as well as some of the other fall squashes so gobble them up while you can!

Paleo Recipe - Roasted Asparagus and Eggplant Salad

Roasted Asparagus, Eggplant, and Basil Combine to Create a Fresh, Paleo Summer Salad

It definitely feels like summer here in Minneapolis. The temperatures are rising and best of all, the farmers markets have started up for the season. The sights of farm fresh greens and other early summer produce has me excited to start playing around with summer salad recipes. I experimented with this Roasted Asparagus and Eggplant Salad as a dinner side salad the other evening. The flavors are fresh and it's easy to make, just what you want during the summer months.

Paleo Salad Recipe Roasted Asparagus Eggplant Basil

Asparagus - (2) Bunches
Eggplant - (1)
Basil - (1/4) Cup
Scallions - (2 or 3)
Tomato - (1) Cup (I used grape tomatoes but you could substitute another variety)  
White Balsamic Vinegar
*Choose a high quality vinegar for drizzling and finishing off the flavors. Locally, I love the White Balsamic from Vinaigrette, an excellent source for high quality olive oil and vinegar in Minneapolis (Linden Hills neighborhood). 
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Imprecise Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2.  The eggplant will take the longest to cook so I suggest starting your prep here. Cut off the stem of the eggplant and cut into 1" cubes. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, tossing a couple of times to ensure even cooking. The eggplant is done when it is tender and browned. (Notes on Eggplant Roasting Preparation: Some prefer to remove the eggplant's skin prior to cooking. Another preparation option is that you can salt the eggplant to remove some bitterness and moisture. I personally don't bother with either of these steps in order to save time but feel free to experiment and see what you prefer. This is a good tutorial on how to roast eggplant cubes if you are curious about these options.

3. Next, cut off the hard ends of the asparagus stems and cut the remaining stalks into 1" pieces. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, tossing once to ensure even cooking.

4. While the eggplant and asparagus roast, slice the tomatoes and scallions (both the bulbs and the leaves). Again, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Once the asparagus is tender, remove from the oven and place in a mixing bowl. Using the baking sheet you used for the asparagus, spread out the tomatoes and scallions and place in the oven for a couple of minutes just to soften the ingredients.

5. While finishing up the vegetables, chop the basil and add to the mixing bowl.

6. Once all of the ingredients are to your desired tenderness, remove from the oven and combine in the mixing bowl. Drizzle with white balsamic vinegar to finish. Serve warm or refrigerate for a cold salad

Enjoy and let me know what you think of this recipe!

Paleo Recipe - Shaved Fennel and Radicchio Salad

Combine Crunchy Fennel and Spicy Radicchio for a Delicious Paleo Side Salad

This Paleo salad, featuring shaved fennel and radicchio, is the perfect excuse to play with the new mandoline slicer I recently purchased. I enjoy the crunch fennel adds to a recipe but the flavor can be a bit intense. Slicing the fennel very thinly mellows and incorporates the flavor into the overall dish. If you don't have a mandoline slicer you can also just use your chef's knife to create thin slices.

*A good balance is (2) parts fennel to (1) part radicchio
Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
Fresh Chives
Green Onions
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Imprecise Instructions
1. Chop bulb of fennel off from fronds (the wispy top that looks like dill). Remove outermost layer of blub. Slice off bottom of radicchio and also remove the outermost layers.
Note: The fronded top of the fennel has the strongest licorice or anise taste of the entire vegetable. I personally find this part of the vegetable to be overwhelming but if you enjoy this flavor you can experiment with sprinkling in some of the fronds.

2. Using a mandoline slicer or chef's knife thinly shave or slice the fennel and radicchio.

3. Dice the parsley, chives, and green onions. Combine with fennel and radicchio in a mixing bowl.

4. In a separate container prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice (I prefer freshly squeezed if possible), olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk together and taste until the flavor balance suits your liking. Pour dressing over other ingredients. If time allows, dress this salad and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so. This allows the fennel to soften a bit and soak up the flavors.

And that's it! This is a perfect Paleo side salad to add to a meal. It can also be made into a main dish by tossing in spinach and grilled chicken. A sprinkling of sliced almonds adds another layer of crunch. If you aren't familiar with the philosophy behind The Imprecise Cook, click here to read the full story.