I've got a split personality when it comes to food. When I'm out on the road, I'll travel and try all sorts of new foods—I'm really the most omnivorous of omnivores. But, when I get back home, I majorly clean up my routine. As in I get into clean-eating, plant-based mode and basically eat vegan for a week or so.
After my trip to Thailand, I was totally in love with Thai food on a whole other level, but I was also in need of a break from all things street food and noodles. I got inspired by this plant-based dinner that Earth Balance threw, so, when they asked me to create a plant-based recipe with their products, I turned to their Coconut Peanut Butter Spread that basically is begging to be paired with Thai flavors.
The result is this Fall salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, tons of fresh Amaranth spinach greens, crisp garlic chips, and a Thai-inspired lemongrass peanut dressing. Oh, and be forewarned that the dressing is seriously addictive so you might just end up using it everywhere from veggie snacking to your sandwiches.
halved and seeds removed
divided, for brushing on the squash and for garlic chips
for seasoning the squash
or another nut butter
or soy sauce
or palm sugar
sliced paper thin
or baby spinach or baby chard
sliced paper thin and soaked in ice water for 5 minutes
sliced paper thin
finely chopped, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange rack in the middle. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt. Roast the squash until knife tender, about 30 minutes. Remove and cool until you're able to handle the squash.
Meanwhile, combine the peanut butter, coconut milk, tamari, sugar, vinegar, lemongrass, kaffir leaf, and 2 to 4 tablespoons of hot water in a blender and process until really smooth, at least 1 minute (it should be thin enough to be pourable but thick enough to coat the vegetables — and more water as needed). Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Dressing can be made up to 1 day ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container and bring to room temperature (you may need to thin it with hot water) to use.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. When it shimmers, add garlic and cook until garlic is crisp, golden brown, and fragrant. Remove garlic to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. To serve, arrange a squash half in each of the salad bowls and add in amaranth spinach greens, radish, onion, quinoa, garlic chips, and toasted peanuts. Serve with dressing served alongside.
Garlic chips can be made up to 1 day ahead of time. Store at room temperature in an airtight container until ready to use.
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