Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, From Westford's Fat Moon Farm
Winter squash and fresh greens from a local farm make a delicious salad
This week, I took a trip over to Fat Moon Farm off Route 40 in Westford. I took my kids so they could pick some pumpkins, which are now happily decorating our front porch. But the real excitement for me was the many varieties of winter squash: butternut, acorn, kabocha sunshine, buttercup, spaghetti, among others. Delicious, delicious winter squash!
There are also fresh salad greens available. Elizabeth Almeida of Fat Moon Farm picked a bag while I waited. You just can’t get any fresher than that!
I brought home my squash and greens, so excited to get cooking. I decided to make a fall-inspired salad. Like spring, autumn is a great time for the cooler-weather-loving salad greens. Starting with that as a base, I added roasted butternut squash, lentils, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. And of course bacon, because pretty much everything is better with bacon. The result is a hearty, filling salad you can serve as a main dish.
This recipe makes enough for two very generous main dish servings, or four side-dish servings.
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
- Mixed greens
- 1 Butternut Squash
- ¾ cup lentils (any type, though I prefer French Green lentils)
- 1 ¼ cup vegetable stock (or according to lentil package directions)
- 4 pieces of cooked bacon
- Pumpkin seeds (Gerbs, produced locally in Rhode Island and available at Whole Foods and Donelans, are a delicious and allergy-friendly choice. Or, pick up a pumpkin while you're at Fat Moon Farm and roast your own!)
For the salad dressing:
- Place all ingredients in a wide top container. Mix well. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, mixing again immediately before use.
For the salad:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Peel, seed, and dice the butternut squash. Wait, don’t leave! I know whenever I see a recipe that calls for peeled, diced winter squash, I sigh and move along. There’s no two ways about it: it’s a drag to peel winter squash. However, I have a few tips to make the job more manageable. First, use a large knife to cut your butternut squash in half. Remove the seeds, and place your squash cut side down on a cutting board. Use your large knife to cut each half of the squash into thirds or quarters (the long way). Now, use a smaller knife to cut the peel off the smaller pieces of squash. I’ve included a picture. This is the easiest way I’ve found to peel winter squash.
- Place the diced butternut squash on a baking sheet. Brush the squash with some of the salad dressing you made. Roast the squash in the oven for approximately 30 minutes until squash is tender and lightly browned in places.
- Meanwhile, cook the lentils according to package directions, substituting vegetable stock for water. If you don’t have directions with your lentils, rinse ¾ cups lentils, then place in a medium saucepan. Add 1 ¼ cup vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer approximately 20 minutes until the lentils are tender and the majority of the stock has been absorbed.
- Wash and dry the mixed greens. Tear into bite-sized pieces and place in bowls.
- Top the salad with a scoop of lentils and a scoop of roasted butternut squash. Sprinkle on craisins, pumpkin seeds, and crumbled bacon. Give your salad dressing a good stir, then drizzle some dressing over the top.
Fat Moon Farm is open this coming Friday, October 7th from 9 am to noon and 4 pm to 5 pm. They’ll be open on Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm and Sunday from noon to 4 pm. Elizabeth Almeida also shares, “We have space for drop-ins with our Kids CSA program on Fridays. Families get an experience helping on the farm and a take home of veggies to make a kid-friendly meal. The food theme for Oct 7th is soup & salad - Butternut Squash & Apple soup and either a lettuce salad or kohlrabi salad.” See their website for additional information.