You might not think of butternut squash for salads, but roasted butternut and fennel add rich, unexpected flavors to autumn (and winter) salads. Give this one a go and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
The greens here include spring mix for variety of shape and color, and romaine for crunch and structure. A sprinkling of dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts rounds out the seasonal theme. Then we tie it all together with a Hazelnut Vinaigrette, balancing the sweetness of the caramelized vegetables with perfect acidity and nutty richness.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the seeds and strings from the butternut and discard. Cut the butternut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the butternut in a large bowl and add the fennel wedges. Drizzle the oil and maple syrup over the vegetables and toss to coat the pieces. Season with salt and pepper, then toss again.
Transfer the vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet and spread them in a single layer so that the pieces don’t touch each other. Bake for 12 minutes, then turn the vegetables with a spatula and continue cooking until they’re tender and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: Place the hazelnut oil, tarragon vinegar, mustard, tarragon and salt in a small glass jar and seal with a lid. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Season with pepper to taste. Set the vinaigrette aside at room temperature. (It can be refrigerated for up to 1 month; let it come to room temperature and shake it well before using).
Just before serving, place the spring mix and romaine in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add two-thirds of the hazelnut vinaigrette and toss again to coat the leaves. Taste and add more dressing as needed.
Divide the greens among 4 salad plates or arrange them on a platter. Top with the roasted vegetables, then sprinkle with the cranberries and hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
Per serving: Calories 240, Fat 14 grams, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 230 mg, Carbohydrates 29 grams, Fiber 6 grams, Sugars 10 grams, Protein 3 grams.
Percentage Daily Values per serving (based on a 2,000-calorie diet): Vitamin A 100%, Vitamin C 30%, Calcium 8%, Iron 10%.