Roasted Butternut and Spinach Salad

March 4, 2013

Spinach is the ultimate flat-belly food. In addition to being virtually calorie-free, it’s packed with tons of disease-fighting nutrients to ward off cancer, repair muscles, and strengthen the immune system.

Read: 25 Shocking Low-Calorie Foods

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Even better news: Including this dark, leafy vegetable into your favorite recipes is easier than ever.  Use it in place of iceberg lettuce on sandwiches and tacos, toss leaves into your go-to pasta recipe for a healthy pop of color, or create a tasty morning pick-me-up by serving a few cups of the wilted veggie over whole-wheat toast topped with a poached egg.

This recipe pairs spinach with in-season butternut squash for a filling, flavorful salad that's finished with a light dressing made from lemon juice, honey, oil, and salt and pepper.

Roasted Butternut and Spinach Salad
244 calories, 5 g of protein, 7 g of fiber per serving

Ingredients:
1/2 med butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (2 cups)
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 3/4" pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 small red onion, chopped, about 1/4 cup
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach
1 small Gala or Golden Delicious apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seed kernels

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat rimmed baking sheet with olive oil spray.

2. Toss squash and bell pepper with 2 teaspoons of the oil, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper in medium bowl. Arrange in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until tender and lightly browned. Let cool 10 minutes.

3. Whisk lemon juice, honey, and remaining 4 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in large salad bowl while squash roasts. Stir in onion. Add spinach, apple, radicchio, sunflower seeds, and squash mixture and toss to combine.