A Fall Salad That Breaks (Most of) The Rules

November 23, 2015

We like recipes that buck tradition, so we paired up with KIND and Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper to share a fall salad that does just that.

Salad, with all its toppings, accommodates an array of ingredients to a degree few dishes can match. We all know the elements that make a salad great—tangy, salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy, creamy. Sometimes though, it's nice to break with tradition, cast off the things we think we know about salad—add an unexpected element (granola) or go a little overboard with jewels like pomegranate arils and dried cranberries (or, in this case, both).

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This salad began in familiar territory, with a big green buttercup squash. Buttercups are similar to butternut, though the texture has a bit more heft—it stands up to a stint in the oven nicely. While not quite crispy, roasted squash is at its best when it has a caramelized, smoky exterior and a pillowy sweet interior, here made all the more delicious with a dusting of paprika and cinnamon.

More: Can't find buttercup? Here's how to roast any squash.

To best highlight the roasted buttercup, I set about pulling in contrasts. I combined orange juice-soaked dried cranberries and almost too many pomegranate arils with the warm squash. I repurposed the cranberry soaking liquid for a strikingly simple dressing of orange juice, olive oil, and sea salt. Just before serving, I tossed the warm salad with a drizzle of dressing and topped it off with a few handfuls of spiced oat clusters. They're a delight just on their own, but on the salad, fragrant cinnamon lent a playful, satisfying crunch to every bite.  

Roasted Squash Salad with Pomegranate and Oat Clusters

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch sea salt, divided
1 small buttercup squash, peeled, cored, and seeded
2 teaspoons heat-tolerant vegetable oil, such as grapeseed
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup pomegranate arils
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 handful oat clusters

Get the full recipe (and print and save it) here.

Photographs by Elizabeth Stark

We paired up with KIND and Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper to share a fall salad that bucks tradition. 

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Elizabeth Stark, along with her husband Brian Campbell, chronicles her passion for simple, fresh recipes on the award-wining food blog Brooklyn Supper.


KarenPV November 29, 2015
Sounds good. The squash you have pictured looks like a kabocha squash.
Me November 30, 2015
They look similar. I believe kabochas are more spherical while buttercups are a bit flat and look more like a curling stone. I think they are often mislabelled/misidentified.
KarenPV December 2, 2015
You are correct as per this web site. Thanks. http://www.epicurious.com/archive/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/visual-guide-winter-squash
carpenter November 29, 2015
You lost me with oat clusters.
Laura415 January 31, 2016
Yes sounds too sweet to me with the sweet fruit, orange juice and sweet caramelized squash. I would sub in something more savory like walnuts (for the oat clusters) and a little splash of balsamic.
Bee November 29, 2015
LOVE IT! I did a web search for "Buttercup Squash" since I've never seen nor heard of them at my marketplace. From one website, it said that a baked sweet potato has the same meaty texture. So.....I'm using baked Sweetie's for this recipe. Should be fabulous! :D Thanks for a nice squash (sweet potato) recipe. :D
Author Comment
Elizabeth S. November 29, 2015
Glad to hear it, Bee!
makimi81 November 23, 2015
This sounds yummy! I have an allergy to cranberries (I know!). Do you think that dried cherries would work with the salad as an alternative?
Author Comment
Elizabeth S. November 29, 2015
Dried cherries (especially very tart ones) are an excellent substitution!