My two best pieces of salad advice are these:
- Place the greens in a large shallow bowl or serving platter rather than a traditional deep salad bowl. I just hate it when all those delicious extras sink to the bottom! A large shallow surface eliminates this problem and allows everyone to enjoy all the yummy toppings. First, I toss the greens with the dressing in the shallow bowl and then add all the toppings. Then I dress the top with just a bit more dressing. Which leads me to #2…..
- Don’t add too much dressing! Lettuce only needs a light dressing and will get soggy quickly if you drown it with too much liquid. So use a light hand, and serve any extra dressing alongside the salad for people to add more if they wish.
3/4 cup Lepp’s apple cider
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup good quality olive oil
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice (you likely won’t add all the squash to the salad, but having extra in the fridge for the next day’s lunch is great!)
Your favourite olive oil
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup of a combination of your favourite salad toppings, such as dried cranberries, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
Lepp’s fresh leaf and butter lettuce
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the diced squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 20 to 30 minutes, turning once, until tender.
While the squash is roasting, combine Lepp’s apple cider, shallots, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup in a small saucepan and boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to about ¼ cup. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard, salt and pepper, then slowly drizzle in ½ cup olive oil, whisking continuously.
Place the greens in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, your favourite salad crunchies, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to barely moisten it, and toss it well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.