The Recipes

Roasted Squash Salads with Cranberry Vinaigrette

For any of the holidays - or just a normal dinner - this is a great middle or first course.  I actually think I got the most compliments on the salad!  "Taste explosion," as my friend described it.

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Roasted Squash Salads with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

- 1 acorn squash, halved
- 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 4 T. toasted pepitas, squash seeds or sesame seeds
- 1 c. cranberries
- ½ c. water
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 2 T. red wine vinegar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 c. arugula
- salt
- pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the seeds from the squash and season the flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place the halves flesh-side down on a baking sheet.  Bake the squash for 45-55 minutes; until the flesh is tender.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the squash cooks, heat the cranberries, water, orange zest and cinnamon steak in a small pot.  Let it simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove the cinnamon stick and any large pieces of orange zest and transfer the mixture to a blender.  Add the vinegar and orange juice.  Blend to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rinse the arugula and plate 1 c. per person.  Slice or dice the squash and divide it amongst the plates.  Top each with a T. of the cheese and seeds.  Drizzle the cranberry dressing over the salad and around the plate.