I am so ridiculously out of breath.
Just finished working out.
And I wanted to get this posted while the kids are still playing happily together. They haven't noticed that I've stopped maniacally dancing around the living room.
I just need to hurry up and spread the word about this salad. It was so different...in a great way. Crunchy. Slightly sweet. Pretty colors. And the boys even ate the raw beets. (Word of caution: don't freak out (like I did) after your kids eat beets and later use the restroom. Just remember: beets are magenta...going in and coming out.)
The pecans are slightly toasted...but that's all the "cooking" that goes into this salad. Everything else is raw.
I used the food processor to "shave" the vegetables really thin. You could also use a grater box or just slice them very thin with a good knife. It might be a good opportunity to use your mandolin, if you have one.
The dressing rocks: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a bit of maple syrup (the pure stuff, not pancake syrup), cinnamon, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. The ingredients sound freaky together, but seriously --I can't stop eating it.
OK. I've said enough. Please go make this. It will blow your socks off.
(FYI: The colors from the beets will run once they are mixed with the squash. If it's going to be awhile before you serve the salad, keep the beets and squash in separate bowls and toss together just before serving.)
Beet and Butternut Squash Salad with Maple-Cinnamon Dressing and Toasted Pecans
1 cup pecan halves
1 large beet, peeled
1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled (left in slightly larger chuncks so you can shave or grate it)
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh spinach
1/8 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Toast the pecans in a dry (ungreased) frying or saute pan over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. Allow them to become warm and fragrant, but don't let them burn. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Cut the beets into chunks that will fit into the feed tube of a food processor fitted with a shredding or shaving disc. Shred or shave the beets and set them in a large stain-proof bowl (glass, stainless steel, etc.)
Cut the squash into chunks that will fit into the feed tube. Shred or shave the squash. If serving the salad right away, add the squash to the bowl with the beets. Then add in the parsley, spinach and pecans. (Don't toss yet.)
In a small measuring cups, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
Immediately before serving, pour the dressing over the shredded/shaved veggies and spinach, parsley, and toasted pecans. Toss gently.
(Serve immediately, before the colors have a chance to run.)
Recipe slightly adapted from: The Perfect Pantry/Apron Strings