I minored in environmental science in college and after a particularly rough environmental disasters course and a presentation on hog farming, I briefly pledged to be a vegetarian (technically a pescetarian but I hate that word). My college roommate can attest to the fact that I lasted about 2 months. At that point my mom told me she booked a 13-course tasting dinner at Stockholm's best old school restaurant for summer break and I broke my vegetarianism with bacon at a Denny's during beach week in Myrtle Beach, SC.
The point of all of this is that I love meat but I still try to eat vegetarian a few days a week because I think it's better for me and it's way better for the planet (and the animals I'm not eating). This salad isn't super pretty but it is vegetarian and damn delicious. I'm a huge fan of Trader Joe's 10-minute farro and barley but there are lots of great grains out there now that are healthy and filling. If you don't care for it to be vegetarian you can added shredded cooked chicken.
Butternut Squash, Spinach & Grain Salad with Goat Cheese
Makes 4 servings
- 1 pound fresh butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup baby spinach, packed
- 3 cups cooked grains (farro, barley, wheat berry, quinoa, and brown rice are all great options and should generally be cooked according to package instructions)
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Add remaining olive oil to a medium saucepan on low heat. Add spinach to pan and stir until cooked down. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked grains, butternut squash, and spinach. Crumble goat cheese over the salad and mix in using a spatula. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.