This warm roasted cauliflower, butternut squash and bacon salad is perfect for the cooler autumnal weather. It's a great healthy meal too!
Summer may have come to an end but that is no need for salad eating to come to an end too. Especially not when autumn salads can be as tasty as this warm roasted cauliflower and butternut squash salad with streaky bacon and caramelised pecans served with a sweet but sharp honey and balsamic dressing. Trust me, this is not a boring salad. This is a salad that once made, you'll be craving again and again.
I've created this salad specially for Printworks Kitchen as my entry into their Warm Winter Salad competition. Printworks Kitchen, owned by Supercity Aparthotels is a family-run cafe in Clerkenwell, London with a delicious-looking menu serving high-quality, seasonal and locally sourced produce wherever possible.
As I picked the butternut squash and cauliflower myself at my local pick-your-own farm, it would be hard to get more local than that. Unfortunately I can't say the same about the pecans.
A perfect Halloween Salad?
As I was thinking up ideas for this salad I couldn't help but think about Halloween and pumpkin pie. Yes, I know I haven't gone with pumpkin in the end but you could certainly substitute it for the squash if you wanted. I liked the idea of a savoury salad using some of the warming spices of a pumpkin pie but with a bit of a chilli kick as well.
Roasting the butternut squash and cauliflower with the spices gives the vegetables a lovely flavour. I have to say I am not a fan of cauliflower but cooked in this way I could eat a whole plateful just of it.
I added a few spiced candied nuts because a little sweetness contrasts well with the saltiness of the bacon and although they may look like they are simply a garnish, this salad would not be the same without them.
And finally the dressing. The honey and balsamic vinegar dressing is a perfect match for this salad and is so quick to mix together too.
Roast cauliflower and butternut squash salad with bacon and caramelised pecans
For the Spice Blend
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ⅓ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
For the Candied Pecans
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1.5 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp spice blend
- 50 g pecans
For the Salad
- 1 butternut squash cut into wedges
- 1 cauliflower cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp spice blend
- Pinch of salt
- 8 slices streaky bacon
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Mix together all the spices for the spice blend.
- Mix together the honey, brown sugar and spice mix for the candied pecans. It will be quite thick and sticky.
- Put the pecans on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Put spoonfuls of the honey, sugar and spice mix on top of the pecans.
- Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. The mixture will now have melted and you can stir the pecans around in it so they are all coated in it. Return them to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Take the pecans out and put them on another piece of non-stick baking paper to cool. Make sure they are not touching each other. This prevents them from being over-coated in the caramel.
- Put the cauliflower and butternut squash in a large bowl and pour over the olive oil, spice blend and a little salt. Stir the vegetables well with your hands so they are coated all over in the oil and spices.
- Roast the vegetables in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes until they are cooked through and lightly browned.
- At the same time fry the bacon until well cooked and crispy but not overdone.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing.
- Arrange the cauliflower and butternut squash on a plate with the bacon. Put a few candied nuts around the sides and drizzle on a little of the honey and balsamic dressing.
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