I had some awesome meals while in Australia last month. One of my favorites was a spinach salad with pumpkin and beets at the restaurant in the Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania. I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t wait to get home and recreate it to eat again! This Spinach Salad with Butternut Squash, Beets & Feta is my version of that yummy salad from down under.
If you follow me on Facebook you might have seen a picture I posted of the salad. It had diced pieces of roasted pumpkin which was really good but I’m substituting butternut squash today since there was a nice little package of it, already peeled and diced, staring at me in the grocery store. That looked easier than trying to cut up one of those big squashes…and I’m easing myself into cooking again after being away from the kitchen for nearly a month.
Wait…while I’m thinking of it, how about a couple travel photos of Cradle Mountain? It was such a beautiful place for long walks/hikes!
Ok, so back to this salad, it was lightly dressed with balsamic vinaigrette which was delightful. Today I’m using my beloved balsamic glaze and it was just as tasty. Feel free to lightly toss the spinach with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette if you prefer. I’m one of those people who prefer to dip my fork into the dressing, then the salad. Not necessarily to reduce calories, I just don’t like much dressing on my salads.
To further simplify this salad I purchased already cooked/prepared beets from the market and just heated them up in the oven while the butternut squash was roasting. Beets are kind of messy so unless I want to spiralize them into noodles like I do for my Beet Peach and Goat Cheese Salad, I sometimes cheat and buy the already prepared ones in the produce section (not canned). The squash and beets are arranged on top of the spinach while still warm and the heat gently wilts the spinach a bit and slightly melts the feta. The combination is just so darn good. I thought it would be nice to add a little crunch so I added some toasted, chopped hazelnuts. I really liked the addition of a bit of crunchy nuts to this salad.
- 1 sm. bag spinach
- 1 container pre-sliced, peeled butternut squash
- 1 Tbls. olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 4 beets
- ½ C. crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ C. chopped, toasted hazelnuts (or any preferred nut)
- Drizzle of balsamic glaze or vinaigrette, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425º F
- Cut up squash into bite sized pieces and place on baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, a bit of salt & pepper to coat squash. Roast until squash is tender (about 15-20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, cut beets into wedges. Place on small baking sheet and place in oven with the squash for about the last 5 minutes of cooking to heat them up.
- On serving platter, arrange a bed of spinach. Top with the warm butternut squash and beets, feta cheese and nuts.
- Drizzle balsamic glaze over top to taste (or lightly toss the spinach with vinaigrette first, if desired)