Roasted Pumpkin and Cauliflower Salad

Last week was a great week. Wednesday I managed to snag a steal of a deal for dinner using Foodie the App (I think this is just a Chicago thing) – 2 tickets to a Locavore Dinner at MK restaurant for the price of one! And how much was one ticket? $85! Yes, $85 off our bill, basically. It was awesome, and dinner was awesome, and the service was awesome, and the beer pairings (yes, beer pairings included!) were awesome. What a fun night. Since Eric was in class, I brought my second husband Evan. We laughed and complained about work and sat in our food-snob corner devouring every last bite… when I finally looked at the clock, I realized it was way past my bedtime! That’s a good thing.

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It was also a productive week – booking flights in Colombia, finalizing bookings in Borneo, and even getting discounts for these bookings! We decided to splurge a bit on our accommodation in Borneo, but I was still feeling guilty about it when hostels are so cheap there. I decided to ask for a discount at the expensive places – and they all gave us one! Just like that. “Can I have a discount?” “Why yes, you can.” I mean, how great is that?

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Anyway, I made this salad Friday night. We received a bunch of squash and pumpkin in our CSA box; I have been bombarded by squash soups, so the last thing I wanted to do was puree these pretty orange veggies with my immersion blender. A shopping trip to Trader Joe’s inspired this salad – pomegranates, apple cider, and cauliflower all lent themselves to a nice late fall salad. Smoky pancetta, diced and crisped, and a sweet and tangy apple cider vinaigrette rounded it out and made it a pretty filling meal. It was so seasonal tasting and the pomegranate seeds added the perfect bit of sweetness and freshness.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Cauliflower Salad

a Wanderlust and Foodstuff original

1 pie pumpkin
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup apple cider
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp granulated garlic
few sprinkles of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 pomegranate
pancetta, diced, as much as you like!
3-4 sage leaves
handful or more of spinach

Begin by roasting the veggies. Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds (but save them! roast them!), and roast the pumpkin halves for 30-40 minutes in a 450° oven. Meanwhile, prepare the cauliflower by chopping it up and coating it in olive oil and salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven for 25-30 minutes with the pumpkin.

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While those are roasting, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the apple cider, vinegars, olive oil, yogurt, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, and salt and pepper. Crisp up the pancetta. About halfway through that process, toss in the sage leaves to crisp in the bacon fat.

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When the pumpkin is soft and you can pierce it with a fork, cut it into cubes. To assemble the salad, layer of a bed of spinach, pumpkin cubes, and cauliflower. Top with pancetta, pomegranate seeds, and crispy sage. Pour dressing over the entire salad.

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