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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Winter is winding down, but spring vegetables and fruits haven't arrived quite yet. Food writer and chef Sara Dickerman shows KUOW's Marcie Sillman a new way to use the old winter standby: butternut squash.

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds); peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch wedges
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

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Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss the butternut wedges with the oil and salt and spread them out in a single layer on two baking sheets. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning once, until the squash is browned in spots.

Roasted Squash Salad

Balsamic vinaigrette

1 finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Mix together the shallot and balsamic vinegar. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then whisk or shake the olive oil into the balsamic mixture.

For the salad

One batch basic roasted butternut squash (see above)
One batch balsamic vinaigrette (see above)
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 cups arugula leaves
4 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced
Pinch of hot paprika or mild red pepper flakes (like Aleppo or Marash)
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup manouri cheese or other fresh cheese like feta, queso fresco or chèvre
Salt and pepper to taste

[asset-images[{"caption": "Chef and food writer Sara Dickerman shows KUOW's Marcie Sillman how to make roasted squash salad.", "fid": "10447", "style": "card_280", "uri": "public://201402/squash5_0.png", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman"}]]Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the pumpkin seeds and toast for about 1 minute. Shake the pan occasionally, until the seeds turn lightly browned and start to pop. Pour onto a plate and let the seeds cool.

Toss the arugula with one or two spoonfuls of the vinaigrette, season to taste with a bit of salt. Place on a serving platter. Gently toss the butternut squash, dates, paprika or pepper flakes and mint with the remaining vinaigrette.

Taste and season with with salt and pepper; keeping in mind that the cheese will add additional saltiness. Place the squash mixture atop the arugula. Sprinkle the salad with cheese and the toasted pumpkin seeds.