There is something about purchasing vegetables from a farm stand that makes you feel like you are buying happy produce. The people who work there are typically humble, hands on, and generous in preparation advice. They will gladly peel open an orange so you can taste how much bolder it is than its conventional grocery store counterpart. I remember my first day working at an organic farm up in San Luis Obispo, they handed me a hatchet (Hugh is shuddering at the thought of this) and we began pulling out deep rooted celery, my arms working so hard they were shaking. I put in hours in exchange for a big box of vegetables at the end of the week, and even after shoveling goat doody, filthy clothes and shaking arms, I still feel I got the best end of the deal. It’s usually the ugly ones that taste the best, the nubby, chunky squash that you can hardly figure how to cut open in the first place. The whole ‘beauty is skin deep’ cliché applies just as well to produce as it does to those mean girls from high school. I realize that not everyone has a local farm, but if you are so lucky, you should support it. I guarantee you will meet some wonderful people and happy vegetables.

This is the green salad that you make for people who think green salads are boring. The specks of pomegranate add a touch of tang, the bright nubs of tender fall squash, a crunch of nut, and the dressing has a grown up depth of cider and dijon. Butternut is far from an ugly squash, but it is accessible and perfect here. I passed this recipe on to a few friends when they asked for side dish recommendations; I promise people will remember this salad. The components were inspired by Ina, and then altered to be absolutely everything I love in a salad.pomsquash_02

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
I recommend plating this salad either on a long platter or individually, otherwise all of the goods will end up at the bottom of the bowl.

3 Cups Baby Spinach
3 Cups Butter Lettuce
2 lbs. Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1’ cubes
½ Cup Toasted Pistachios
1 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Real Maple Syrup
Block of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes

Cider Dressing//
¾ Cup Apple Cider
2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp. Shallots
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 Cup Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepperpomsquash_03

Oven to 425’
1. In a rimmed baking pan, toss the squash cubes in the oil and syrup. Sprinkle with salt, red pepper flakes and fresh ground pepper. Roast on the top rack for 20 minutes. Remove and cool.
2. While the squash are baking, bring the apple cider, cider vinegar and shallots to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for about 8 minutes to reduce and remove from the heat. Whisk in the dijon and a pinch of salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Allow dressing to cool.
3. In a large bowl add the baby spinach, butter lettuce, and toss with a small amount of the dressing. Place tossed salad on a serving platter and distribute the pomegranate seeds, pistachios and then the squash pieces on top. Drizzle a bit more dressing on the squash and shave large pieces of fresh parmesan on top.

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Reader Comments (45)

I love, love, love everything about this one. The story (yay for getting your hands dirty!) the sentiment (hooray for happy vegetables) and the recipe (it's stunning). Great stuff, Sara.

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertara

absolutely beautiful! This salad is like winter in a bowl! We love going to the farmer's market and we are hoping to start a CSA program soon so we can start getting all of our veggies from local farmers. Thanks for supporting local and as always thank you for yet another gorgeous post!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin @ Roost

Here's to supporting our local farmers! I can see you now with that hatchet. The dressing sounds mouth watering and I'll bet its cider makes it a kicky pairing with this salad. It's as if you've tossed a kaleidoscope for us. So pretty!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and Hugh.

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim (@ Paper Apron)

oh yum! i made this recipe last year when i got ina's is definitely a winner, especially in the squash season. i'll have to try your adaptations, they sound great :)

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

You had me at Butternut!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Ordinary Vegetarian

One word: YUM!!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMollie

I love how colorful and Fallish this salad is. I bet it was fantastic!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNutmeg Nanny

You're a genius. Seriously. Couldn't wait to make this; tried to eat my computer screen and broke a tooth.

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle @ CrispyTarts

Thank you for such a great post! Photos are gorgeous as usual.
"The whole ‘beauty is skin deep’ cliché applies just as well to produce as it does to those mean girls from high school."-I couldn't agree more, especially with tomatoes.
Wishing you & yours a great Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersherala

That is indeed a lovely salad. I love squash in salad - such great flavor and texture. I wish you both a very happy thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDana

dangit, i wish i would have seen this before i made a totally lame and boring salad for my day early Thanksgiving feast tonight. :( next year, next year.....

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercourtney

I completely agree about supporting the local farms and about the ugly veggies. Your dish is anything but ugly - it's beautiful - but I'll bet it's delicious. And I'm so glad you included a recipe for cider dressing. May you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEl

You've managed to turn an ordinary butternut into something quite majestic!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNanette

We don't have farm stands here but what we term "wet markets" have stall-owners that offer personalised service similar to what you've described. While we don't get to pull things out of the ground, they'll help pick the freshest from their stall. I like the personal touch!

You make me feel like I can eat salad all day! Amazing images!

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCookie Cutter

I had always thought of butter lettuce as second rate, lacking the oooompf and crispness of other varieties and without any real purpose such as cos for ceasar or iceberg for a good crunchy sandwich.

today I stand corrected.

tomorrow I make this salad.

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwinnecke

Wow! What an inspiring blog you have. I just found it recently and since then I've been coming back every day, hoping for a new entry. How happy this salad made me! Don't you find it tricky cutting the butternut? It always feels like i could lose a finger doing it ;)

What a beautiful salad! sadly, where I am living, the season for squash is already past... I totally agree with what you said about local food, we should all get our hands dirty every now and then and take part in the food production. It is good to remember that working on a small scale farm, how romantic that may sound, is actually hard work.

November 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSalla@Goddess of Cake

I love salads with pomegranate seeds, but would never have thought to add butterbut squash - great idea that I must try!

November 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJan (Mixing Bowl Kids)

Absolutely stunning photography, and a wonderfully festive, seasonal dish. This is going on my Thanksgiving menu... next year ;) Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercandice

sounds delicious...looks beautiful!

November 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMara

so gorgeous. the colors, the ingredients, the recipe...

November 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteremily- mpls real food lover

your shots are GORGEOUS! i am smitten with that pomegranate shot! and of course the recipe looks delish!

November 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertracy

Butternut just begs to be photographed, I think. So vibrant and beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Leftoverist

Your photos are always so simple and stunning! Do you do apply any special effect to make the backgrounds seem neutral but the colors pop? (If you don't mind me asking)

November 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

eating a giant salad is the thing i miss the most about living in the good ole Us of A. looks divine.

November 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterleela

Oh my! I think I just found the Christmas salad. This looks absolutely delicious.

November 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

Beautiful imagery, and a yummy sounding salad.

November 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVillageCook

Oh my god, Sara..that salad is outrageously beautiful and delicious looking..and your photography is stunning..absolute perfection. What I would give for natural light. I wish I could find a way to make my Lowel Ego Lights give me anything close to photos like yours!

Regardless, I must make your salad asap! Bookmarked :)

November 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

What a beautiful salad!! Love the idea of sweet meets savory. I have a giant butternut squash sitting here looking for a home....perhaps this salad! Thanks for the inspiration.
Beautiful photos!!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermarla {Family Fresh Cooking}

Totally! I am all about the happy food. I am especially picky about happy eggs and dairy, but it's good for veg to be happy, too :)

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHilary

I love that you worked on an organic farm, and in exchange for produce makes it even better! I completely agree with your observations on buying produce as close to the source as possible - I was introduced to butternut squash years ago by a farmer's market worker who convinced me to buy the squash and told me excactly how to cook it...and it was wonderful. Your salad looks delicious!

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa's Cocina

This salad is so mouthwatering yet still warming in a cool weather. This is a salad that perks up any meal.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDivina

This looks and sounds delicious! I love your photography! It makes me super pumped for the new camera I'm soon to be investing in.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFoodFitnessFreshair

I loved this post! I'm visiting a farm this Saturday with my environmental science class and your words just made me more excited. :) The salad is absolutely gorgeous. I love the pop of color from the pomegranate and butternut... it's just lovely.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElissa

I do love anything that has butternut squash AND pomegranate! Pictures are lovely :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterheather @ chiknpastry

Your pictures and recipes are fantastic! Beautiful blog.

December 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErica

This looks delicious. How many would you recommend this serves, as a side salad?

December 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Love the bit about GOOD olive oil. Somehow some very light, insipid olive oil made its way into the house and I am not happy.

December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

I love the colors in your salad. Beautiful.

December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHélène

YUM! I made this salad today and it was awesome - thanks :-)

December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMirella

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October 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAn ode to squash… &rsaqu

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November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Thing About Salads…

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I live in Perth, Australia and was given two pomegranates yesterday so I went searching for a recipe, knowing you would have one I liked. It was absolutely delicious :)
Your blog is delightful and I always await the next post, thank you so much :)

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChloe

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