Acorn Squash and Spinach Salad

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I visited the Natick Community Organic Farm for Maple Magic Day. On a cold and windy day, we huddled up with other kids and adults eager to visit the farm to see how maple sap is collected and cooked down to make syrup. Even though in the weeks to come it would snow several feet, the week before the tour had been warm and nurturing to the earth. NCOF was selling the first leaves of spinach alongside jars of maple syrup.

I’ve been so tired of making winter food, and was excited to embrace the beginning of spring with this bag of spinach. I found a recipe for acorn squash and spinach salad on the food blog What’s Gaby Cooking that beautifully combines winter and spring. Produce vendors at farmers markets are still selling overwintered acorn squash, and now that I had a bag of fresh, farm grown spinach, the timing was perfect.

I made a few amendments to the original recipe to suit my tastes. The original recipe called for making your own salad dressing, which is a fun twist. It’s not complicated at all, but I did stop by the Boston Public Market to pick up some local honey. The man at the Boston Honey Company booth in the BPM said that their Basswood Honey has a slightly minty finish and is perfect for salad dressings. He was right.

Acorn Squash and Spinach Salad

Makes 4 entrée salads

Total time: 35 minutes

In my Basket:

1 medium Acorn Squash (from Freitas Farms, Middleborough MA)

8 cups fresh Spinach (from Natick Community Organic Farm, Natick MA) 

1 cup crumbled Sea Salty Feta (from Narragansett Creamery, Providence RI)

2 tsp Basswood Honey (from Boston Honey Company, Boston MA)

From the Pantry:

5 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 cup Walnuts

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Cut squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds and pulp. Cut halves into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Place slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.
  4. Wash spinach, then place in a large serving bowl. Add cheese and walnuts to bowl.
  5. While squash cools, add remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey to a separate mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  6. Once squash is cool enough to handle, peel skin off the slices and discard. Add slices to serving bowl. Toss to combine.
  7. Drizzle the honey balsamic dressing over the salad. Enjoy!

Alice Kathryn Richardson is a new media photojournalist and creator of The Clean Food Club. She previously spent two years working on Deserts in the District, a series of short-form documentaries exploring food access and hunger in Washington, DC. She is committed to supporting local and sustainable food businesses by telling their stories with photo and video. Follow her on Twitter @AKR_Pictures.

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