This memory inspired me to create a Friendsgiving Harvest Berry Salad that's loaded with color, plant protein, fun textures and sweet California Giant Strawberries and Blueberries. The only thing that makes it better is the Strawberry Vinaigrette that takes less than 10 minutes to whip up and your guests will likely want to use this dressing for more just salad. I could even see it becoming the new cranberry ;).
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Time: 45 minutes (worth every minute)
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 5oz package baby kale
16oz or ~3 cups chopped butternut squash (most grocery stores have 16 oz pre-chopped packages)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp avocado oil
1 1/2 cups roasted chickpeas (try this recipe or packaged roasted chickpeas are fine!)
2 cups California Giant Blueberries
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/4 cup walnuts halves
1 large avocado or 2 small avocados, sliced
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 Tbsp avocado oil
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper
1.) Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with foil.
2.) Toss butternut squash in avocado oil and spread evenly on foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of butternut squash and bake for 25 minutes.
3.) If you're roasting the chickpeas, they also cook at 400° so you can bake them at the same time. Disregard if using packaged roasted chickpeas.
4.) While butternut is roasting, chop head of romaine lettuce into bite size pieces and mix with package of baby kale. Place lettuce in large serving bowl.
5.) Chop baby heirloom tomatoes in half and arrange on top of greens.
6.) Rinse strawberries and remove stems. Slice 4 cups strawberries, reserving half for the dressing. Place 2 cups strawberry slices and whole blueberries on top of greens.
7.) Remove butternut squash from oven and push squash to one side of the baking sheet. On empty half of the baking sheet, place walnuts and roast both the butternut and walnuts for 5 minutes in the 400° oven.
8.) Remove butternut squash and walnuts from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring warm squash and walnuts on top of the greens.
9.) Finish the salad by adding avocado slices and serving with Strawberry Vinaigrette.
Strawberry Vinaigrette Instructions
1.) Place sliced strawberries in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat and stir strawberries every 1-2 minutes until they start to simmer for about 5 minutes.
2.) While simmering, use a potato masher to mash the strawberries into a pulp.
3.) Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
4.) Transfer warm strawberry pulp to a mini food processor or high-speed blender and blend with oil, white balsamic vinegar, sugar, water and a dash of salt and pepper until all ingredients are well incorporated and dressing is creamy.
*Depending on the size of your salad bowl, you may find all of the fruit and toppings don't fit on top of your greens. Make sure to reserve those ingredients and add more as the salad is tossed and served!