Friday, October 2, 2009

Mushroom Quesadillas with Butternut Squash Salad

The second thing I was responsible for during our bloggy lunch was the salad. I wanted to make something really unique and fall appropriate, rather then just a green salad. I was really excited when I found this recipe from Ina Garten for a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. It's always a gamble making something for the first time when you are serving company, but luckily this salad turned out to be downright amazing. It's served warm, with arugula that is just wilted and practically melts in your mouth. The slightly sweet vinaigrette with nutty pecorino romano and big chunks of rich butternut squash would easily stand as a meal on it's own. I LOVED this salad and can't wait to make it again!

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
By Ina Garten


1 butternut squash peeled and diced
olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (I did use pure, but honestly, I don't think it would make a different if you just used Mrs. Butterworth's too!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cups apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted (next time I'm using chopped walnuts, the halves are a bit big for my taste)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I love using Pecorino Romano as a substitute)


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

3. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

4. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Alissa was in charge of our main course which were these amazing Mushroom Quesadillas. Apparently this was a recipe that Oprah had posted because it is what Jennifer Aniston had served at a lunch party, girlfriend's got good taste, that's all I have to say! These quesadillas are SO good and packed with tons of flavor. The cooking technique was really unique too. She cooked them in a skillet that was covered with a layer of Kosher salt to crisp the tortilla, which turned out so crisp and delicious. Alissa also used the Artisan Blend of Mexican cheeses and just the smell alone of this package of cheese had us drooling! Awesome quesadillas!

Mushroom Quesadillas on Whole Wheat Tortillas
Recipe adapted from The Family Chef, found on the O website


2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 ounces assorted mushrooms , thinly sliced
1 sprig thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 whole wheat tortillas
4 ounces assorted cheeses (such as cotija, Jack, and ranchero), crumbled or grated
3 cups baby spinach
Cilantro leaves , for garnish (optional)


1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Heat another skillet on medium-high heat. Sprinkle a little salt in the pan (it must be kosher or another coarse salt), and put one tortilla on top—the salt will keep the tortilla from sticking and help it crisp up without using any oil.

3. Place about 1/4 of cheese, spinach, and mushrooms on half of tortilla.

4. Fold second half of tortilla over to cover filling, and cook until bottom is golden and slightly crispy, 2 minutes. Flip tortilla over and continue cooking until other side is crisp and cheese is melted, 2 minutes more. Repeat process with remaining tortillas. Cut each in half or leave whole. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro leaves.

Be sure to check out Sara in the Kitchen for her amazing S'mores Cake!


Judy said...

Yumm. This looks so delicious, can't wait to try it.

Palidor said...

Both the salad and quesadilla look delish! That dressing must have tasted amazing.

Jenn said...

Quesadilla? Why yes, please. Filled with mushroom. Yum!!

the ungourmet said...

That salad looks so terrific! I've never had butternut squash this way! What a great idea!

Donna-FFW said...

My goodness, what a winner of a dinner.. this sounds absolutely fantastic!!! What a great pairing!

Melody said...

Very unique salad! It looks beautiful and delicious.

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

The salad sounds absolutely delicious!! Love the quesadilla's too.

Alissa said...

I'm still dreaming about all that food...and that salad...oh that salad! So decadent!!!! I LOVE cooking with you!

Chow and Chatter said...

lovely quesadilla and the salad rocks great presentation as well

♥peachkins♥ said...

Mushroom quesadillas sounds really fantatic!

Kim said...

I don't know where to start! I love the butternut squash salad and have been wanting to make it ever since I got Ina's new book - looks delicious. I'm really interested in this cooking technique with the layer of salt and the quesadilla, very interesting. And, smore cake- Hello....I want some of that!!

Katy ~ said...

My mouth is ACHING because these look and sound so good. I really like the butternut squash aalad recipe. How perfect would that be for the holiday table!

Erica said...

ow! Both the dilla and the squash salad look awesome! What a meal. I'm totally jealous. Have a nice weekend

Pam said...

Bookmarked. I love, love, love this recipe. The salad and quesadilla both look outstanding.

HoneyB said...

This sounds so delicious! All of it! states

jscardon said...

Mmmmmm, yeah. These two recipes are DEFINITELY keepers!! Thanks again for hosting!! Brillaint idea!!

Leslie said...

Ina never fails me!!!!
What a yummy dinner

Megan said...

I love roasted butternut and I have to try this salad! I never thought to make a quesadilla with mushrooms. Brilliant!

Barbara Bakes said...

I would have never thought to put those ingredients in a salad, but it looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

WOW! I never really thought of making butternut squash as a SALAD...Great idea! I want it sooo bad now!

Sophie said...

MMMMMM,....what a lovely meal & with this yummie side salad,...Oooh yes!

Carrie said...

I LOVE mushroom quesadillas!! Great picture, yum-o!

Debbie said...

The salad sounds delicious. Love the dressing!

Velva said...

This is a perfect Fall salad! Fresh, healthy and delicious. I have never made an Ina Garten recipe that I did not love. This recipe is on my list!

Ingrid said...

How fun that you're getting to meet and hang with other bloggers!

Btw, hope you don't mind but I added you to my blogroll and wanted to say thank for taking time to comment on my blog!