My yearnings for the light flavors of summer brought me to dream up this side dish salad. So often when I make winter veggies, they are hot and rich. The beauty of this salad is that it celebrates butternut squash, a classic fall and winter vegetable, but tastes very light and fresh. Instead of the traditional approaches of blending it into a savory soup or other hot preparation, the squash is roasted then tossed with black beans, onions, cilantro, and a sweet and smoky chipotle dressing. Serve the salad room temperature garnished with roasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) and feta or goat cheese. You can view the recipe on my blog as well: http://mypantryshelf.com/2011/01/19/chipotle-black-bean-and-butternut-squash-salad/ —My Pantry Shelf
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the diced butternut squash with the oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven 25-35 minutes until the squash begins to caramelize. Stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even browning.
Put pepitas in a dry pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. Roast until pepitas begin to brown. They will pop and become roundish. Remove from heat and cool. You may want to make extra as a yummy snack.
In a large bowl, combine the black beans, onion, cilantro, and garlic. Add the roasted butternut squash. Toss with 1/2 of the dressing. Taste and add salt as needed. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to 1 day to let the flavors blend. To serve, toss salad again and top with feta and roasted pepitas.
Place the oil and whole garlic cloves in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the garlic just begins to brown. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In blender, combine remaining dressing ingredients. Add the garlic and oil. Blend until smooth.
The bounty of each season is worth celebrating! Most of the meals I cook for my hungry family of four are based on whatever is fresh and bountiful in our yard or what we can glean from the yards of our friends and neighbors. The seasonal food we have in surplus goes into the canning jars. Even busy families can find time for fresh, homemade foods.