Ancho Roasted Squash with Smokey Piñon Dressing & Tomatillo Salsa

I love the fall, especially New Mexico in the fall. The air is filled with wonderful smells. All the desert flowers have bloomed to their full pungency and dried on the vine in the summer heat. The fall frost moistens the dried flowers in the morning, and as the sun comes up to warm the mesa the day is perfumed with a sort of bygone summer incense that blows through the cities all day and gets accented with wood smoke and roasting chiles. The Cottonwoods and Aspens have busted out in a riot of yellow, the balloon fiesta peppers the skies, and New Mexicans are showing off their funky autumn wardrobes. 

One of the best ways I've met to dress up a salad in quite some time!

As some of you may know, I've been seeped in recipe testing this month for both Aro Ha in New Zealand and The Ashram in Calabasas. In spirit of all my merry kitchen eating this month, I thought I'd share a recipe with you from my trials. Given that it's the fall and I'm super homesick for Q-town right now, this seems like the perfect one. If you're headed to the Ashram anytime soon, this is the new Friday night dinner!!

Generous savory meals are a big thing in my home state, in more ways than one. So rather than gorge yourself on a giant platter of carbs this fall, try this satisfying roasted squash salad instead. The Ancho Roasted Squash and sweet Smokey Piñon Dressing offer the perfect autumnal lure for a giant bowl of dark green leafies, while the Tomatillo Salsa and crunchy toasted Pumpkin seeds knock it over the top. Guaranteed to please your body and wow your taste buds. 


Smokey Piñon Dressing

1/4 c. piñon (pine nuts), soak 2-3 hours, drain and rinse

1" chipotle pepper, soaked 2-3 hours

5 sundried tomato halves

2 T. lemon juice

2 T. flaxseed oil

1 T. raw almond butter

1 T. maple syrup, coconut nectar, or raw honey

2 t. bragg's liquid aminos

1 t. smoked paprika

1/2 t. salt

3/4 c. water


Blend all ingredients together from low to high until smooth and creamy. Store in a glass jar. Keeps about 5 days. Makes 1 1/4 cups.


Ancho Roasted Squash

2 c. butternut squash, cubed

2c. summer squash, cubed

1/2 c. red onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 T. olive oil

1-2 t. ancho chile, dried/minced/ground

3/4 t. sea salt

black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop and toss all ingredients together, then spread out over parchment paper in a roasting pan. Roast for 25 minutes. Serves 2


Tomatillo Salsa

1 3/4 c. tomatillos, peeled, washed, topped and chunked

2 T. spicy cultured vegetables (kimchi or other spicy ferment)

2 T. onions, minced

1/4 c. cilantro, coarse chopped

3 T. lime juice

1 t. jalapeno, minced

1/2 t. sea salt


In a food processor, pulse the tomatillos and cultured vegetables together into slush. Toss in the remaining ingredients and pulse it all together a few times to mix the ingredients. Makes about 2 1/4 cups.


Other Meal Components

Mixed greens

Toasted pumpkin seeds



Choose a couple of nice big salad bowls and fill them with fresh, yummy mixed greens of your choice. Divide the roasted squash mixture over the two salads. Drizzle on the Smokey Piñon dressings and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve with a side of tomatillo salsa and savor your delicious life!