I wouldn’t call myself a salad girl. If I were, I’d probably need a better tan, skinnier legs and sunnier highlights.

But I’m not going to lie–I love a beautifully composed plate of fresh, seasonal lettuces and veggies tossed in a homemade vinaigrette and topped with cheese, LOTS OF CHEESE. (Okay, maybe I could become a salad girl as long as it involved a snowy mountain of grated parmesan.)

I like being good to my body by ending the day with a nice serving of vegetables and not filling my plate with with bacon-wrapped pork loin with a side of twice-baked potatoes topped with bacon (the latter being Jamie’s preferred dinner…)

And this time of year, when our bodies are thrown into overdrive with all of the holiday feasting, it feels good to step back one night, enjoy a simply roasted vegetable, a pile of greens and call it a day. While you’re making Jamie’s cornbread tonight for the turkey stuffing, make a supper out of my quick n’ easy Roasted Acorn Squash Salad. This’ll give you a little leverage to eat an extra piece of pumpkin chiffon pie on the big day! 

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Arugula and Balsamic Reduction

Serves 2

  • 1 ½-2 lb acorn squash, cut into 1 inch sections, stringy flesh removed, seeds reserved
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch ground coriander
  • Pinch paprika powder
  • 3 tablespoons, balsamic vinegar*
  • 2 cups arugula, rinsed and dried
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste

*Don’t pull out the nice stuff! Use regular ol’ balsamic from the grocery store.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with tin foil.

On one baking sheet, line the acorn squash rings. Rub each side of the acorn squash with the cut side of the garlic clove. Next, lightly grease both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle each side with salt.

In a small bowl, toss 1/4th – 1/3rd cup pumpkin seeds (or, however many seeds you were able to scrape from interior of squash) with coriander, paprika and pinch of kosher salt. Spread the seeds in an even layer on the other baking sheet.

Place both pans in the oven and cook pumpkin seeds 7-10 minutes or until aromatic. Remove seeds to a plate and allow to cool.

Cook squash for 20 minutes and, then, with kitchen tongs or a fork, flip the rounds and allow them to cook 10 minutes longer or until the flesh is tender and can easily be pierced with a knife blade. Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool on baking sheet.

Meanwhile, over high heat in a small sautee pan, bring vinegar to a boil. Once it boils (after about 1 minute), reduce heat to low and allow to simmer. Once it reaches a syrupy consistency (in about 5 minutes) remove from heat.

In a small bowl, drizzle 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil on arugula. Season with salt and pepper and toss.

To assemble the salad: Arrange 2-3 rings on each salad plate, allowing them to slightly overlap.  Mound half of the arugula on top and then sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds. With a small spoon, drizzle desired amount of balsamic reduction on top and then finish with shavings of parmesan cheese. We like to use our vegetable grater when shaving parmesan cheese in order to make thin, pretty curls.

Enjoy with a hunk of French bread. Even better if you can get your hands on some focaccia!