Mexican Squash Salad

Moving to Florida last week was a great reminder that spring and summer are on the horizon! We dread eating salads in the winter and seriously look forward to sunshine and the desire to eat vegetable cold again. This Mexican Squash Salad is the perfect way to push you out of your salad rut. We’ve mixed a blend of lettuces and cabbage, radishes, and avocado as the base of the salad. Acorn squash is a great starchy vegetable to bulk it up and keep us feeling full. The cilantro vinaigrette is a must have for cilantro lovers- it goes well on everything from salads to fish and any roasted vegetable. And finally, pan fried cheese “croutons” because salads are more fun when crispy cheese is involved.

Mexican Squash Salad

Makes: 4 entree sized portions

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3 cups romaine lettuce, finely chopped to match the consistency of the cabbage
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 radishes, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 8 oz queso blanco (Halloumi also works)

Ingredients for Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable or avocado oil
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare the squash by cutting the stem off the top, and using that flat end to cut the squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds. Cut the squash into large, bite-sized wedges. Drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the squash onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the squash is browned and fork-tender.
  3. While the squash is cooking, prepare the salad dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients (vegetable oil – cumin) in a small food processor. Blend until the dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Next prepare the cheese. Cut the cheese into large, bite-sized pieces. Heat a small skillet with 1 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cheese. Fry for about 2 minutes per side so that the cheese is crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
  5. Assemble the salad by layering all of the salad ingredients, starting with the lettuces and ending with the cheese croutons. Drizzle generously with the cilantro and lime vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

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