You guys, I have to tell you something. I've found it. I've found The One. Seriously. All this time I've been thinking it was never going to happen to me and, then, suddenly... There it was. I've never felt this way before. Every time we're together I find myself moaning with delight - I honestly can't enough! And it's... A salad. I know! I know! Who am I, right?! Who am I and what have I done with the Holly who formerly declared that a salad is a fundamentally sad meal?! Guys, I've changed. I've seen the error of my ways. Because this, this beautiful thing with spicy rocket, maple roasted squash & sweet crispy cranberries alongside the creamiest sweet-sharp dressing of apple and mustard... Oh me. Oh my. I really am in love!
But seriously, this is by far the best salad I've ever eaten. It's so good I'm not sure it even merits the title of "salad", because that word is so loaded down with connotations of cold foods thrown together in a half hearted kind of a way. This warm, filling, delicious dish is a million miles away from all that - and if I sound like I'm gushing, it's because I genuinely never realised a salad could be this good! It looks & tastes like autumn in a bowl, but I have a feeling I'll be making it well into the spring. The butternut squash takes on the maple flavour beautifully & the cranberries go all deliciously crispy in the oven, so that every bite is full of texture and flavour. The dressing is thick and moreish, full of apple & mustard & seasoning, which pairs so well with the sweetness of the maple that I actually went back for seconds. For a salad! I know! Up is down, right is left, what is going on?! The dressing though is honestly a delight, and would be wonderful with all sorts of autumnal dishes. I've still got some pork & leek sausages in the freezer & I can't wait to eat them with a hearty spoonful of this stuff drizzled all over the top. I may or may not have stood over the saucepan eating it with a spoon. Whatever, I confess nothing.
Adjust the amounts of butternut squash, cranberries & rocket to your own specifications depending on how many mouths you have to feed. The measurements listed below for the dressing will serve approximately four. You will need:
- 1 butternut squash.
- Dried cranberries.
- 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup.
- 150ml apple juice.
- 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar.
- 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard.
- Half an onion.
- Olive oil.
- Salt & pepper.
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Peel, deseed & chop your squash into bitesize pieces.
3. Place the squash into a roasting tin & drizzle with approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of pure maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper, rub it altogether with your hands until the squash is thoroughly coated, then roast for approximately 20 minutes until tender.
4. Check the squash every 5-10 minutes, and add in a few handfuls of dried cranberries a few minutes before the end.
5. As the squash roasts, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan on a medium-high heat.
6. Chop your onion half as finely as you can, then add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until golden.
7. Add in 150ml of apple juice, and two tablespoons of cider vinegar.
8. Bring to the boil, then leave to cook for about 10 minutes until reduced.
9. Remove from the heat, then whisk in two tablespoons of mustard, a tablespoon of olive oil, salt & pepper.
10. Take the squash & cranberries - which should be sufficiently roasted by now - out of the oven.
10. Place the rocket in a bowl with the maple roasted squash & cranberries on top. Spoon over a generous helping of the dressing, and enjoy.
The salad to end all salads. I stand corrected, you guys. I really do.