Spinach, Walnut & Kabocha Salad with Sweet-Onion Vinaigrette
Total Time: 40
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 1-1/2 pounds kabocha squash, stem and seeds removed, skin on (see "Note," above), and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1-1/2 teaspoons table salt, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
- 8 ounces baby spinach leaves, about 5-6 cups
- 1/2 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped
Instructions:Preheat oven to 400°. Brush squash wedges with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle all over with 1 teaspoon salt plus ground pepper to taste. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange squash slices on it. Roast until tender, 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add onion to vinegar and let sit at least 15 minutes (up to overnight). Put spinach leaves in a salad bowl and set aside.
In a small heavy-bottomed skillet, toast walnuts over medium-low heat until fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool; then add to salad bowl.
When squash is tender and cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch chunks and add to salad bowl. Remove onions from vinegar mixture with a slotted spoon, reserving vinegar mixture, and add to bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar mixture and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Pour one-third of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat lightly. Serve salad with extra dressing on the side.
Note: The skin of the kabocha squash becomes very tender with roasting, so there's no need to peel it if you don't want to.