New year – New start, they say, right?
Now, I don’t know about you, but I may have over-splurged a little over the Holidays… and by a little, I actually mean a lot! With so many treats and sugary temptations surrounding me quasi-constantly it’s been kind of hard for me to stay strong and turn my back on all the guilty pleasures I love so much. Why does chocolate have to taste so darn good?
But hey, the Holidays are over now; time for this foodie to get back on the wagon. Actually, I have to admit that it feels kind of nice to be eating super healthy again. And with food as good and beautiful as this Roasted Acorn Squash Orange and Spinach Salad I just made, it’s easy to see why!
I know I say this every.single.time I come up with a new salad recipe, but this latest creation of mine, with its sweet, juicy slices of oranges, crunchy toasted almonds and robust but tangy orange coffee dressing is one of the best salads I’ve eaten in my entire life! It’s so delicious, it doesn’t even feel like you’re eating healthy stuff, seriously. And it tastes almost as good as chocolate. Almost!
Even if you’re not big on squash, I get the feeling that this particular dish will have you completely hooked.
Oh, and I chose to add rice to mine because, well, I was in the mood for it and happened to have some leftover cooked rice in the fridge. If you don’t do rice, however, feel free to just leave it out. I’m positive that your salad will be just as tasty and satisfying.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS WITH PICTURES
Preheat your oven to 425°F
Arrange the squash slices onto a broiler pan or baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 25 minutes*, flipping the slices once after 15 minutes.
*If you find that your squash isn’t golden enough for your liking after it’s done roasting, set the oven to broil and let it brown for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Also, while you’ve got the oven going, put the almonds in a small baking dish and place them in the oven along with the squash until they get fragrant and light brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove them from the oven and roughly chop them once they are cool enough to handle.
While the squash is roasting, peel the oranges with a sharp paring knife and then slice them rather thinly crosswise, so they look like slices of pure sunshine.
Now would also be a good time to cook some rice too, if you’re planning on adding some to your salad. Unless you too happened to already have some leftover in the refrigerator… Then you could just warm that up slightly and save yourself the trouble of cooking a fresh batch!
I’m sure your squash isn’t done yet, so there’s still plenty of time to make the vinaigrette.
You might want to check on your almonds, though. You wouldn’t want them to burn now, would you?
They’re fine? Good! Let’s go on and make that vinaigrette.
Add half the vinaigrette to the spinach; toss to coat and arrange nicely on a plate.
Top the spinach with the beautiful slices of oranges, warm roasted squash, chopped toasted almonds and cooked rice, if using. Drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.
While this salad is at its best when it’s just been made, it will still keep in the fridge for several days and can very well be eaten cold.