I think that the definition of ‘salad’ can be interpreted pretty loosely. To me, a successful salad will entertain the palette with a variety of flavors and textures. Every bite should be complimented by opposites– something cooked with something fresh..a little crunchy next to creamy…tangy right alongside earthy flavors…sweet and salty together on one forkful.
It’s the perfect solution for when you can’t really decide what you’re in the mood for.
But lately, I’ve really been in the mood for citrus. Just feels like the perfect foil to the cold, dreary winter that is currently making itself at home. And these Satsuma tangerines just looked too cheerful not to bring home with me.
I originally planned to just use the tangerines in the tahini dressing, but I ended up throwing a few of the sections in with the rest of the gang. Improvisation is another trick to creating the perfect salad. This one was actually inspired by a lunch I threw together out of leftovers. Something delicious created out of the overabundance of roasted vegetables I usually have lying around.
This time it was delicata squash and beets that were roasted in my tired little oven. It definitely has been overworked lately, functioning as both a kitchen tool and a heat source.
But I’m not ready to give it a break anytime soon.
Since a salad doesn’t really feel complete to me without a good crunch factor, I thought I would toss in some pecans. I rolled them around in some gingery maple syrup and butter first, though. A few minutes in a hot oven leaves them toasty and salty and sweet and totally addictive.
You might want to make extra, to make sure they actually make it to the plate.
The dressing might be my favorite component of this hodgepodge of ingredients. I love, love tahini and its slightly bitter flavor balances out all the other sweet things going on here. Like the voice of reason acting as a reminder that you are, in fact, eating a salad.
Whether it fits your definition or not.
- one delicata squash
- 2 medium sized beets
- olive oil for roasting
- mixed greens
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1.5 tsp melted butter
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- tbs maple syrup
- juice from one lemon and 2 tangerines or 1 orange (1/4 cup total)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- tbs olive oil
- tbs mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated pecorino romano or parmesan
- Heat oven to 375.
- While oven preheats, peel beets and dice into small pieces. Slice delicata lengthwise, remove seeds, and cut into half moons. Arrange on a baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl combine melted butter, maple syrup, ginger, and allspice. Toss pecans to coat, and spread over a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 7 minutes, tossing nuts about halfway through.
- Remove nuts and allow to cool and increase oven temperature to 400.
- Place beets and delicata into oven and roast for 35-40 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- While beets and delicata roast, combine all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Fill a serving dish with mixed greens. Top with beets, delicata, tangerine segments, avocado slices, pecans, and parmesan. Serve with dressing.
*Dressing makes more than enough for two servings. Use the extra for another salad later in the week. *Honey can be substituted for maple syrup to make this recipe GAPS compliant.
No room for boring salads around here!
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.