This is a tricky time of year for seasonal food lovers. Spring is right around the corner with the promise of a new crop of exciting vegetables, and summer produce will be here soon after. Hearty vegetables have been showing up on our plates for months, and if we aren’t mindful, dinner can get a bit boring.
On this rainy Monday I had a butternut squash and some Swiss chard that needed to be eaten and needed to be delicious, so I made a favorite salad of mine that is rustic and simple, but light enough for an almost-spring day. The squash gets sliced into wedges and roasted whole: skin, seeds and all. This works best with a small squash; if you only have a large specimen on hand, peel and deseed before roasting.
Butternut Chard Salad with Mustard Dressing
Preheat the oven to 375.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove any rough or dark bits from the outside of the squash, but leave the rest of the skin on. Cut the top and bottom off of the squash, then slice in half lengthwise and crosswise so that you have four pieces. Do not remove the seeds. Halve each piece, then cut those pieces in half so that you have sixteen wedges. Place on a baking tray and drizzle lightly with oil, sprinkle generously with salt (I love a flaky sea salt here) and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired. Using your hands, toss the vegetables to coat evenly with the oil, then arrange in a single layer. Bake for approximately thirty minutes, turning halfway through, or until the pieces are very soft and beginning to brown.
Meanwhile, mix up the mustard dressing.
Slice the chard into ½” wide ribbons and divide into two dishes for dinner-sized portions, or four if serving as a side. Drizzle ½-1 T. of the dressing over the chard and toss gently, then set aside until ready to serve.
When the squash has finished roasting, remove from the oven and divide evenly among the dishes of dressed chard. Drizzle with more dressing to taste, and–if you wish–top with a little cheese, shaved into thin slices with a vegetable peeler.
Serves two as a meal or four as a side.
Whole Grain Mustard Dressing
Makes just under half a cup.