This salad was made completely with left-overs. In minutes I had a healthy, balanced lunch that was satisfying and delicious – and naturally sugar free and gluten free. I actually came across the recipe when I was digging through Alta’s blog a couple of weeks ago – I was looking for a good recipe to link to for a post. When I’m looking for a recipe I can trust, I always check out Tasty Eats at Home. Alta knows her way around the kitchen – and understands quality food.
Transforming leftovers is something I’m getting much better with, especially now that I work from home. I made a few changes from Alta’s recipe based on what was in the pantry. Here are some other ideas for varying the ingredients:
- No currants? Use raisins, sultans, dried blueberries, diced dried apricots, or dried apples. Or use fresh fruit – apples, grapes, or berries.
- No grilled chicken? Try chickpeas, white beans, or leftover turkey.
- No spinach? Use any greens you love – mixed greens, romaine, green leaf lettuce.
- No roasted squash seeds? Any nuts will do – pecans, walnuts, or sliced almonds come to mind.
- No roasted butternut squash on hand? Try a baked sweet potato instead.
My two cents on homemade salad dressings – and all cooking – you have to taste and adjust the seasoning. Even the best recipes from the best chefs in the world require that you stop, taste what you’ve made, and think about how it tastes to you. Does it need more salt? What about a little pepper? Maybe something acidic like a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a dash of vinegar? Or, maybe just a little more sweetness would make it perfect. This is where you take responsibility for the food you cook – and make it your own.
People often ask why I write good quality extra virgin olive oil. You must also taste your oil – this is especially important when making salad dressings and other oil-heavy foods like aioli. If your olive oil isn’t pleasant by itself, it’s still going to taste unpleasant in your salad dressing. Expensive and good taste don’t necessarily go hand in hand. I actually love Costco’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil and use it as a dressing all by itself with a little salt and pepper.
If you don’t know what brand is pleasing to you, buy several different brands, taste them all, and decide which one you like best. Then you’ll never have to wonder about what bottle to buy. Use the olive oil that you don’t like so much in things where the flavor won’t dominate the dish so it doesn’t go to waste.
A few of how to posts about butternut squash:
- How to Peel a Butternut Squash
- How to Roast a Squash and Dry the Seeds
- How to Roast a Cubed Butternut Squash
How do you transform your leftovers? Any thoughts about other variations on this recipe?
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday is tomorrow – come back and link up your healthier recipes.
This Thursday is Holiday Food Fest hosted by the brilliant Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily. Link you your holiday dishes – main dishes, sides – almost anything goes. She’ll be giving away a bottle of organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions.
If you haven’t stopped by and seen last week’s Holiday Food Fest entries, take a couple of minutes to do so. You can still leave a comment to be entered to win one of two fabulous prizes – a 5 pound bag of Honeyville’s Almond Flour or a Honeyville gift assortment of flax seed, gourmet cocoa, and freeze dried apples.
Serves: one perfect lunch
- about 1½ – 2 cups of fresh, organic baby spinach leaves
- ½ to 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced thinly (depending on your appetite)
- ½ cup of cubed, roasted butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon of roasted squash seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried currants
- a sprinkling of fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Put the spinach in a salad bowl or on a plate. Top with thinly sliced chicken breast. Surround chicken with roasted butternut squash chunks. Sprinkle with squash seeds, currants, and grated Parmesan cheese. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste.