If you’ve been following along with my Instagram photos this past week, you’ll know that I returned home after a little visit with the main Mouse himself in Florida. Warm and full of more sugar than a person should be physically possible to hold, I ended the week wanting something that I can’t say I want very often… a <gasp> salad.
I know, I know. This isn’t Southern Skinny, but gimme a break here. I’m basically twitching from the sweets intake. One more Mickey cookie and I’ll probably explode. PS- Mickey cookies coming soon!
While you still won’t catch me ordering a little green salad as a meal at a local restaurant, I have to say that this was a definite winner. — Peppery arugula, roasted butternut, tangy pomegranate seeds balanced with creamy goat cheese and crisp roasted almonds. All tossed together with a white balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is a perfect accompainment or main course.
The star of this salad is tough to take aim on. Anything with goat cheese is a favorite of mine, but the vinaigrette takes the highest place on the winner’s podium for this dish.
White balsamic vinegar may not be something most have even heard of. It’s basically the same thing as regular dark balsamic, with a few slight differences. Bon Appétit and The Kitchn both have nice little articles on a bit of the history and usage of white balsamic.
Basically, instead of cooking to caramelization, this is cooked in a pressure cooker to prevent the darkening richness, leaving us all with an option for a more sweet, light balsamic. The light color plays perfectly for salads. Nothing throws a salad off more than a dark dressing on the lettuce.
This vinaigrette is a simple mix of good olive oil, golden (or white) balsamic, a bit of salt and pepper, and some surprise seasoning. (Read through to the recipe to find out what it is!)
Pomegranate seeds are pretty much the best things ever. Tiny little textured edible seeds with a delicious tart freshness. These are perfect to add to just about anything. I may or may not have eaten most of these straight out of the fruit with a spoon…
You won’t find me with a quinoa smoothie after running my miles in the gym anytime soon, but you will certainly find this salad on my table again in the very near future (Hello, Holidays!)… even if it’s after I finish off another Mickey cookie.
- 5 ounces baby arugula lettuce
- ½ butternut squash
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (1-2 pomegranates)
- ¼ cup almonds, sliced
- goat cheese, crumbled, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup olive oil (good quality)
- ⅓ cup white or golden balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar, white granulated
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pizza seasoning (dried, I prefer Papa John's green packet)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
- Peel butternut squash thoroughly down to orange flesh.
- Slice into thin pieces, about ¼" thickness.
- Toss pieces in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Place in a single layer on a paper or mat lined baking sheet.
- Bake until lightly golden, about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove to cool completely.
- While cooling, wash and dry arugula and set aside.
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a container or jar. Seal well and shake vigorously.
- Remove garlic clove after mixing.
- When butternut has cooled completely to room temperature, toss arugula in dressing (to taste).
- Place servings of lettuce and top with pomegranate, goat cheese, almonds and butternut.
- Finish with salt and pepper, to taste.
- More recipes on SouthernFATTY.com
Vinaigrette recipe roughly based and modified from Gimme Some Oven