roasted butternut squash salad with pecans, pears, and bacon vinaigrette

I am sooooooo ready for the new year.  Soooo, sooooo, ready. DSC_0019

Between the cookies, candies, and many excuses to drink wine I am just done.  Done with 2012, done with mediocre workouts, and most importantly I’m done waging a constant war with myself.  You know… those battles over whether or not you really should eat juuuust one more cookie.

DSC_0024“I want one more cookie”…. “No, don’t have the cookie”…”I worked out this morning, that’s worth at leeeeast one cookie”… “Lies! A cookie isn’t worth undoing the sweaty torture”… “but it’s just a cookie”…

There’s no way I’m the only person having those battles in my head.  I wouldn’t mind them if the damn cookies didn’t win so much.

DSC_0033So, in honor of 2013 being a brand spankin’ new year I’m waging a new war.  A war against unhealthy thoughts.  Not against cookies, or chips, or myself, but against the thoughts that sabotage my best efforts, against the negative thoughts of self doubt, and against the thoughts that hold me back.

DSC_00572013 is about healthy thinking.  I’ve done a lot of thinking lately, most of it not so healthy, but the more I do think about health I realize that I’m living it best when I’m thinking it.   When I think about how to make my body healthier, that cookie doesn’t seem so appetizing anymore.  When I think about how to make my mind happier, the gym starts to sound like a pretty good idea.

DSC_0027So here’s to a happy and healthy new year! I should also add that it’s going to be a delicious year.  How could it not be all of those things when there’s bacon and pecans on salad.  I’m starting to think healthy is a very, very good idea.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pecans, Pears, and Bacon Vinaigrette

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes (there will be leftovers!)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp smoked paprika

4-6 slices thick cut bacon and its reserved fat

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 pear, cored and thinly sliced

1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dijon mustard

salad greens, rinsed and dried

Preheat oven to 375.  Toss the butternut squash with the maple syrup and smoked paprika.  Roast for about 20-25 minutes, until cooked through and starting to brown.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until crispy.  Remove the bacon to paper towels to cool.  Measure out 4 tbsp of the bacon fat and place in a small bowl.  If you’re short 4 tbsp, use olive oil to make up the remainder.  Whisk in the balsamic vinegar, dijon, and 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper. Taste, and add salt as needed.

 Crumble the cooled bacon.

In a small sauté pan heat the pecans over medium heat until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.  Set aside.

Dress the greens and pears with however much dressing you life.  I think it’s best when its dressed lightly. Arrange the dressed mixture on plates, and top with bacon, pecans, and the roasted butternut squash.

There will be leftovers of squash and pear, depending on how much you add to each salad.  For me, this recipe served four with leftover squash, pear, and dressing.

DSC_0039Bring it on, 2013 !

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenn says:

    This sounds devine!!!

  2. I am also excited about 2013. I was actually sick of Christmas food. I love the bacon dressing on this. Looks like a perfect fall/winter salad 🙂

    1. haha I feel ya on the holiday foods! thanks 🙂

  3. Shannon says:

    Oh, I am so with you! I live the part about the cookie not seeming like such a good idea and the gym sounding better and better. I’m in Day 3 of “Don’t make nonsense choices” and it feels SO GOOD!!

    1. it does feel good!!! thank you for the reminder 🙂 !!

  4. Meaghan says:

    I must tell you how in love with this combo I am. My husband “LOVES THIS SALAD”. We have no eaten it twice this week, and I know we’ll probably eat it again tomorrow. Everything works so perfectly together. I have been using half evoo and half bacon drippings for the dressing to make more like a triple batch. Can’t get enough of it, and I love these winter themed salads.

    1. you made my day!! so glad you both enjoy it 🙂 thank you !!!

  5. Meaghan says:

    Just thought I’d leave another update: we have been making this salad at least once a week it seems. It’s awesome because I always double the butternut, bacon,and toasted pecans so it’s a breeze to throw it together a few days later. I’ve also shared this recipe to other people no less than a dozen times. My husband is still simply enthralled with it’s deliciousness. I’m thinking I’ll try swapping for a beet, apple, walnut salad next and see how that goes.

    1. you rock!! Thank you so much !! I’m so happy you both enjoy it 🙂 loooove your walnut/apple/beet idea!! yum!

  6. Kelly says:

    Oh my goodness…this sounds incredible!!!

  7. knitlitkate says:

    healthy thinking…brilliant! tx for this inspiring post…reinvigorating me for the year…rr, month…um, day ahead! baby steps… 🙂

    1. hahaha baby steps are better than backward steps !!

  8. Thanks so much for this recipe! I was looking for a fall salad with roasted butternut squash, but most of them I found had cheese in them. I love this combo of flavors! I’m planning on making it for lunch with my girlfriends this week – Yea! I’ve got it pinned and ready to go!

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