We served this salad at Thanksgiving this year.
The first step is to cook the squash. We used a butternut squash, but other winter squash varieties would work. The squash we used made about twice as much as we needed for the salad.
Cut off the hard ends of the squash and then peel the skin with a sharp vegetable peeler. (The modern peelers with ceramic blades make this job easy.) Scoop out the seeds and then cut the squash into 1/2″ cubes. Toss them with olive oil, grated or powdered ginger, salt and pepper. Roast them in a hot oven (400-425°) for around 30 minutes, using a spatula to turn them over every ten minutes or so.
While the squash is cooking, prepare your other ingredients:
• One pound of spinach, or a mix of spinach and lettuce;
• Two small pears (or one large one), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced;
• Around 1/2 to 1 cup of dried cranberries;
• Around 1/2 to 1 cup of crushed nuts — I used candied almonds, coarsely chopped, but candied pecans would work, or pistachios;
• Around 1/2 to 1 cup of crumbled goat cheese.
• Around 1/2 cup of balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing.
When the squash is cooked and you’re ready to serve, sprinkle the salad dressing over the greens and toss to combine, then layer the various toppings on, one at a time.