This roasted butternut squash and mozzarella salad is drizzled in a balsamic vinegar reduction for a sweet, delicious, gluten free and vegetarian salad made in under 45 minutes!
Today’s lunch was inspired by a lovely salad I had at the fabulous La Piazza Ristorante Italiano at The Grove.
The salad is sweet, salty and Italian, so pretty much a combination of all of my favorite things!
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 12 oz butternut squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese balls
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, then prepare the butternut squash.
I am fortunate enough to live within walking distance to Trader Joes (which is pretty apparent in all of my ingredient shots!) so I purchased pre-cut ready-to-go butternut squash cubes. If you aren’t so fortunate (holler to my Oklahoma peeps!) just buy a couple of medium size squash and cube them yourself. Place them on a baking sheet (I like to line with foil bc I HATE to do dishes and it prevents them from sticking to the baking sheet so easier clean up!)
Drizzle the olive oil over the top.
Next, sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon.
Then on to my favorite part… BROWN SUGAR! I feel that everything in life would be better if it had a little brown sugar involved!
Now the squash is ready to go in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Toss them about half way through.
While the squash is roasting prepare the balsamic reduction for drizzling over all of this yummy salad! Heat a skillet over medium-high heat then add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to the skillet, followed by 2 crushed garlic cloves. Bring it to a boil then lower the temperature and allow it to reduce by half.
Next, toast the walnuts.
Once again, I bought already chopped walnut pieces from Trader Joes, but if you have whole walnuts just give them a nice chop and you’re ready to go!
Throw these on some foil on a baking sheet and in to the oven for 3-4 minutes, these little babies toast up quick in the 400 degree oven!
Once the squash and walnuts are out of the oven and the balsamic is reduced it’s time to put it all together. Use tongs to move the squash on to a plate in a nice little pile, then top each pile of squash with 4-5 mozzarella balls, next sprinkle a few toasted walnuts on top, then it’s time for that yummy, syrup-y, balsamic reduction goodness to get drizzled all on top! Your plate should end up looking something like this ↓
But are those two plates I see?!??!
Yes those are two plates of deliciousness you see! So if you are thinking back to yesterdays blog and thought “didn’t she say she experimented with cooking at lunch because she was only cooking for herself” why yes, yes I did say that so now I guess I’m a liar, but all in good reason!!
Time to introduce my best friend Erin, she’s the kind of girl who will drink a case of bud light with you and enjoy an enormous burrito all while wearing 5-inch heels and approximately 68 pieces of jewelry, needless to say she is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Well I had the fortune of feeding her lunch today after she arrived home early from a work trip and had the day off! Watch as she intently stares at her food, raising her fork in anticipation of that first magical bite:
And here she goes… time to dig in!
Mmm delicious! Definitely recommend this dish for a great appetizer or lunch salad, or I was thinking I might skewer a ball of mozzarella between two pieces of the roasted butternut squash and drizzle with the balsamic reduction for cocktail parties! Who wants to come to my next cocktail party now, huh? Yeah I know you do 🙂
♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.
♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free.