Generally I swap soup for salad in the depth of winter, but I still have access to heartier salad greens grown in area hoop houses. To adhere to January’s calorie-cutback resolutions, I just have to include some salads into my daily meals.
The combination of squash, winter radish and spinach not only tastes wonderful, it also offers a healthy bonus of smashing colors to a winter meal. Choose your favorite cold-hardy greens as the backdrop of this salad, but don’t fall back on the usual spring mix, which is a little bland and soft for this salad.
I used thin-cut rounds of peeled butternut squash, which I’d roasted with the vegetables I served the night before, but play around with different squashes available to you. Stippled Delicata squash doesn’t even needs to be peeled and could be steamed in either rounds or chunks. No matter which squash you choose, its vibrant yellow-orange makes a cheerful splash against the greens.
Amazing watermelon radishes come next. I used a mandolin to get the thinnest rounds possible, but a food processor or even a very sharp knife, used carefully, is fine. If you can’t find these lime green and pink beauties, look for pretty French breakfast radishes instead. Other ways to incorporate a touch of red include dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds or even a few raspberries. Consider also adding a few slices of avocado, which is in season, too, or 1/2 pound of crabmeat or cooked shrimp to make a lunch salad.
I dressed the salad with standard vinaigrette: one part vinegar to three parts oil, salt and pepper. Balsamic is a good choice for the vinegar, but raspberry or pomegranate vinaigrette would also be nice.
Yield: 2-4 servings
- 1 small butternut or Delicata squash, peeled and seeded
- 1 small watermelon radish
- 4 cups leaf spinach, or a combination of baby spinach, watercress, arugula and radicchio
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- your favorite vinaigrette
Slice squash into thin rounds or half-rounds. Toss with olive oil and roast at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, or steam until fork-soft. Set aside.
Thinly slice radish, cutting the rounds in halves or quarters if large.
Fill salad bowl with the washed spinach or other greens, tearing the leaves if necessary. Add almonds, radish and squash, and toss gently. Dress salad and toss again.