Inspiring Ingredients

I really try to avoid impulse buys at the grocery store, but when I saw the Maple Grove Farms Maple Fig vinaigrette on sale one day, and then checked the nutrition label and saw that it was completely guilt-free, I couldn’t resist. My first instinct for this dressing was actually not a salad at all, but for roasted squash. I quartered and seeded an acorn squash, brushed each piece with some butter spray and some of the maple fig vinaigrette, and sprinkled with cinnamon. I wrapped these in foil and tossed them on the grill until tender, for a summer spin on a fall classic. The dressing really complimented the squash, so I began thinking about what might be the perfect fall salad. Nothing was settled until a few days later, when I spotted this pear & apple stilton cheese. All of a sudden the idea came together: my perfect fall salad would contain baby spinach, roasted butternut squash and onions, crumbled pear & apple stilton, grilled balsamic chicken, and roasted pumpkin seeds for a little crunch.

I wanted to add some extra depth to the chicken, so I marinated it in balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil, and fresh chopped rosemary and sage. While the chicken marinated, I seasoned the squash and onions with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven. To assemble the salad, I tossed the spinach with the dressing and spooned the warm vegetables over, allowing the heat to wilt the spinach just a bit. This creates a wonderful texture and infuses the flavors a little bit more than assembling it cold. I topped with the sliced chicken breast, crumbled cheese, and pumpkin seeds. Both my fiance and I really enjoyed this meal, since it was the perfect combination of our favorite fall flavors, yet still light enough for a late weeknight summer meal.

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3 Responses to “Inspiring Ingredients”

  1. 1

    Ally — September 1, 2007 @ 4:56 pm Reply

  2. 2

    Emilie — September 2, 2007 @ 7:51 pm Reply

    I think this salad sounds wonderful. What a great combination of flavors! You’re really getting into the autumn spirit, aren’t you?

  3. 3

    Joelen — September 9, 2007 @ 4:31 am Reply

    Sounds like my kind of salad for the fall! What a great mix of flavors…

Leave a Reply to Joelen