We have catering delivered to my office pretty frequently and for the past couple months, tucked between the standard roast beef on multi-grain and tuna salad on rye has been the most remarkable little whole-wheat wrap. Made with avocado, butternut squash, arugula, fresh mozzarella and beets, the Autumn Gardener’s Delight is the highlight of the sandwich platter. My boss is a vegetarian, so she loves it, but it’s so robust and full of flavor, it’s satisfies the meat-eaters in Finance, as well. It’s a serious power-lunch.
I’ve adapted it to a hearty salad perfect for a mid-day meal at home on the weekend. If you’re suffering from a cookie swap hangover, give this super healthy dish a try. It’s highly versatile. I love arugula, but this would also be great with kale or spinach. You could omit the cheese for a vegan alternative, but truthfully, the mozzarella is my favorite part. I love the smooth and subtle texture paired with the intense root vegetables. I topped the salad with some candied pecans, but cashews or pistachios would also provide a nice crunch.
Fall Harvest Salad
Inspired by Bakers’ Best Catering
1 bunch of beets
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, for roasting
3/4 cup bocconcini (2 oz fresh mozzarella balls)
1 avocado, sliced into eights
2 cups arugula
1/3 – 1/2 cup candied pecans
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Slice off the beet leaves close to the tip of the beet. Scrub the beets thoroughly, then wrap them loosely in aluminum foil. Transfer the wrapped beets to a baking sheet and roast for 50-60 minutes (45 minutes for smaller beets). Check the beets every 20 minutes or so. Beets are done when a fork or knife slides easily into the center of the beet. Let the beets cool enough to handle and rub the skin away.
While the beets are in the oven, prepare butternut squash on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with salt and pepper. I also seasoned with fresh sage and thyme (completely optional). Bake for 40-45 minutes until slightly browned, caramelized and soft.
Plate arugula leaves with roasted beets and butternut squash. Top with avocado slices and mozzarella. Garnish with candied pecans. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil or your favorite dressing.