Fall Salad with Pecan Sorghum Granola

Granola on a salad sounds weird, but trust me it is delicious! The first granola-topped salad I ever tasted was amazingly delicious, made with pine nuts from the BlueFire Bar and Grill. With just one bite it fueled my curiosity to create my own nutty sweet salad topping. My version features seasonal pecans and whole grain oats that are lightly sweetened with sorghum, adding the perfect crunch to this fall salad with earthy, tender-roasted beets and mildly sweet acorn squash.

A simple vinaigrette is all you need for this flavorful salad bursting with color and nutrients. For some extra protein, top with grilled chicken or shrimp. Save cook time by using leftover roasted squash and beets from last night’s dinner and granola from breakfast for a salad you can throw together in about two minutes.

Salad Ingredients:
1 bunch beets, scrubbed
1 acorn squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 bunch or 6 ounce bag spinach
¾ cup Pecan Sorghum Granola
4 ounces goat cheese

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the skin on the beets and wrap each in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 35 to 55 minutes, depending on their size. Remove beets and set aside until cool enough to touch. With a small pairing knife, gently remove skin from the beets and chop into cubes.
  2. Meanwhile, peel squash and slice in half. Discard seeds and chop into cubes. Place on a baking sheet in an even layer and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a mason jar. Tightly secure the lid and shake until well combined.
  4. Create a bed of spinach on four plates and top with an equal amount of roasted beets and squash. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on each salad and sprinkle with my crunchy granola and a drizzle of vinaigrette.

Servings: 4

Pecan Sorghum Granola

Fresh fall pecans were the inspiration for my nutty and slightly sweetened granola. This protein-packed snack is made with only five ingredients and is so simple to prepare. In around 30 minutes, you can have a homemade treat that far exceeds the quality of the boxed varieties you’ll find on grocery store shelves. Enjoy straight off the baking sheet or make a parfait with Greek yogurt, diced apple or pear and granola. For some unique was to eat my Pecan Sorghum Granola, add as a crunchy topping for a fall salad or sprinkle on top of pumpkin muffins just before baking.

Ingredients:
2½ cups pecans
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons sorghum
1 tablespoon butter, melted
½ cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil or cover a medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine pecans and oats. In a small bowl, whisk together sorghum and butter and drizzle over pecan mixture. Stir until worked through.
  3. Place granola on the baking sheet, spreading it out and gently pressing into an even layer with your hands. Bake until golden brown and crunchy, for about 15 minutes. Use a spatula to flip pieces of granola over and continue cooking for 5 to 10 more minutes.
  4. Let cool completely. Then, break granola into small chunks. Add cranberries and toss to combine.