Continuing on with pumpkin-themed posts, I have a delicious salad to share with you all today! When my family does dinner, or when my significant other and I do dinner, I am usually in charge of sides. My parents and my boyfriend definitely have that whole protein thing down. They make good meat. Therefore, I have taken up the mantle of Queen of Sides, Mistress of Veg, Purveyor of Potatoes.
It’s quite fun matching different dishes up with classic proteins. It’s fun. It’s tasty. It’s a challenge. Especially when you have a meat-and-potatoes father who hates anything that isn’t meat and potatoes.
Sure, he’ll try it, but he won’t like it. At this point, it’s a battle of wills. I’ll make it. He’ll grumble and try it. He’ll say, “Good job,” and he’ll never touch it again. But, the fact that he even tries it means a lot to me. I know for a fact if my mother made it, he wouldn’t touch it. The fact that he makes that effort for me demonstrates the special father-daughter relationship we have. With that in mind, I try to rein in my ‘creative’ impulses when it comes to food. I try to make things that are palatable for him. He hasn’t loved anything, but he’s tried it. Small victories.
That being said, the lovely story I just told you, while true for the majority of cases, was not the case this time. This salad was not on his list of tries. He took one look at it and said, NOOOOOPE. He drew a line. But he DID eat the pumpkin…which I may have told him was butternut squash…but, compromise is good. One thing at a time.
This pumpkin salad with cranberry dressing was wonderful. The pumpkin was warm and creamy; the cranberry dressing was tart and sweet; the almonds and lettuce added a delightful crunch. All-in-all, it was the epitome of a fall salad. I would even wager you could eat it as a main dish. Though, it is probably more appropriate for lunch rather than the dinner, but it is substantial enough to fill you up.
I found this recipe in the October 2013 issue of Vegetarian Times, but you can also find it online. The original recipe called for butternut squash and baby greens, but I substituted pumpkin and Romain, since they were ingredients I had on hand. I don’t think the dish suffered for it. It also served 6 people; and I’m not talking skimpy salad potions either. So, that’s always a bonus in my book.
½ cup dried cranberries, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
⅛ tsp. salt
½ cup slivered almonds
roughly 10-oz lettuce of your choice
- Steam pumpkin cubes 7 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
- Place 1/4 cup dried cranberries in bowl, and cover with boiling water. Steep 2 minutes, then drain. Transfer to blender with vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, salt, and 1/4 cup water. Blend until very smooth.
- Toast almond slivers in small skillet 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, shaking pan often. Set aside.
- Toss greens with dressing in large bowl. Top with warm squash, almonds, and remaining 1/4 cup cranberries.