One of the greatest things about being back in school is the time off. We got nearly 3.5 weeks off for winter break!! I flew back to northern California for a gloriously peaceful break at home where I did nothing except eat, sleep, rehab my ailing right knee, play too many games of Settlers with my cousins and develop an unfortunate affection for this show. All in all, an amazingly healing hibernation that allowed me to unwind, reflect, and plot out the coming year, which feels like a big one. Do you feel that?
All the eating of family-cooked meals and eating out dominated most of break, so I spent surprisingly little time cooking over break (not complaining). Except for Christmas dinner, when we had twenty-ish family members over and I made these rolls, this pie, this cake, these brussels sprouts and this salad (which explains the giant serving size). Then I made this salad again for a blogger potluck hosted by the lovely Alanna, where I promptly undid any good this salad might do you by eating all of her luscious banana cream tart (or maybe that was a dream…). It was such a fun event, where I got to meet the lovely and insanely talented bloggers Pang, Sarah, Ana and Lukas!
The point is, it’s been awhile since I’ve been really excited about a salad, but this one is current dream food: crunchy almonds, juicy pomegranate seeds, the sharp feta, creamy squash and citrusy dressing. This salad does make enough to feed a swamp monster (or, like, 20+ people as a side dish as demonstrated by Christmas), but all the toppings refrigerate well, so this doesn’t have to be reserved for a huge gathering–it makes for a great prep-ahead, eat-all-week type of meal.
A bountiful, flavorful winter-inspired salad for a crowd.
- For the salad:
- 1 medium butternut squash + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pomegranate
- 2-3 cups chopped broccoli
- organic mixed greens (I used about 2 lbs for 2 giant salads)
- toasted slivered or chopped almonds, to taste
- feta cheese, to taste
- For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- handful parsley
- salt and pepper
For the salad:
Peel and cube the butternut squash into 3/4" cubes, reserving the seeds for roasting if you like. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until tender and caramelized.
Meanwhile, harvest the pomegranate arils (I highly recommend this method) and steam the broccoli: heat a pan over medium high heat with a little olive oil. Once hot, saute the broccoli for a minute, then add a few tablespoons of water, cover, and steam until tender (around 10 minutes). Set aside and let cool.
Toast and chop almonds and crumble feta cheese, if needed.
For the dressing:
Blend the first three ingredients together in a small food processor or blender. Add the parsley, salt and pepper and pulse until incorporated.
Toss cooled vegetables, pomegranate seeds, almonds and feta with mixed greens. The toppings refrigerate well for a few days, so reserve half of everything if not serving a big crowd. Top with dressing to taste. Serve immediately!