Autumn Salad

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This is just simply a wonderful salad.  It’s easy to prepare, packed with nutrition and the taste is outstanding.  My perfect salad contains sweet, savory, salty and many textures, to boot, and this one has it all.  The savory chicken, the sweet squash, pears and vinaigrette, the salty bacon, the creamy goat cheese and the crunch of the walnuts will leave your tastebuds (and dining buddies) very VERY happy.  A perfect way to  celebrate Autumn.  

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Autumn Salad

Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette:

5 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup 

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

For the Salad:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 Cups Cubed Butternut squash (1/2 inch-1 inch cubes)

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

6-8 Ounces Mixed Greens

4 Skinless Boneless Split Chicken Breasts, grilled or roasted

4 Slices Nitrate and Nitrite Free Bacon, cooked and chopped  *optional

1 Pear, diced

4 Ounces Goat Cheese, crumbled

1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Directions

For the Vinaigrette:  Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.  Set aside.

For the Salad:  Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with non stick foil.  Place squash on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well to ensure all the squash is coated.  Spread out evenly in one layer and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until squash is tender and just beginning to get a crust on it, stirring 1 time in the middle of cooking. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.  

Begin to build your salads.  Drizzle all but 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette on top of the greens and toss well to coat.  Divide the greens among four plates, top with squash, chicken, bacon, pear, goat cheese and walnuts.  Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette on top of the salads.  Serves 4.  

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