Warm Thoughts, Fresh Moods :: Winter Salad with Caña de Oveja

arugula, acorn, walnut salad with cana de ovejaIn a season where root vegetables and crockpot dinners reign supreme, a delicate yet filling winter salad provides a fresh respite to the braised, the roasted, and the baked.  With the weather in DC looking colder and colder this month, we set out to create a salad with plenty of texture and flavor to pick up our moods as well as our meals.

We here at Righteous Cheese believe that a little bit of cheese makes everything better, and in accordance with this belief no salad is 100% complete without some queso. To a lovely salad of arugula and fennel, we added wintery elements of roasted acorn squash, fresh carrots, and toasted walnuts. We selected a nice, ripe pear from the local market’s bounty of apples and pears – fruits that seem to have no shortage of supply at this time of year. And finally, we picked out some cheese.

Fresh, bright goat cheese is often a go-to selection for salads. But rather than the bright, summer-y feel that comes with the addition of goat cheese, we’ve opted for a nutty, rich, and dense (but still apt for crumbling) winter-y feel of a sheep’s milk cheese: Caña de Oveja. From Spain, this rare soft sheep’s milk cheese is the mellow little brother of bigger, brighter, and tangier Bucheron. Generously distributed atop a mound of squash, pears, fennel, and walnuts, this winter salad was the perfect remedy for our wintertime, dinnertime blues.

arugula, acorn, walnut salad with cana de oveja - large

Toasty winter salad with Caña de Oveja 

serves 2-4 as an appetizer or side dish

  • 1 small acorn squash, seeded and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. za’atar
  • Arugula (or other suitable salad mix, we also used a butter lettuce mix in this version)
  • 1 bulb fennel, finely sliced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 comice pear (or other variety), sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 5 oz. Caña de oveja
  1. Slice squash into thin (1/8 inch) strips. Acorn squash does not need to be peeled – the skin is soft enough to become edible once cooked – but peel if you’re anal like we are. Toss with olive oil and za’atar spice, along with salt and pepper (check out our neighbors, Bazaar Spices, for a selection of zata’ar and other spices!). In a 375° F oven, roast for 30 minutes or until soft and slightly browned.  Take out of the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Lower oven to 300° F, and toast walnuts on a shallow sheet pan for 5-10 minutes. Set these aside to cool as well.
  3. Thinly slice fennel and pear, preferably with the help of a mandoline. Using a vegetable peeler, strip carrot into long ribbons. Layer these three atop arugula along with squash and walnuts. Toss gently with your hands or a pair of tongs.
  4. Crumble the Caña de Oveja over the salad. Dress with your choice of dressing (a simple olive oil and squeeze of lemon fits the bill) and serve. Enjoy!!
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About Jessie

Forever a Californian at heart, Jessie has found herself in DC, by way of China, by way of New York. In addition to slingin' cheese at the market with her fellow cheesemongers, she can be found writing, mainly about food and travel. Her favorite cheese? Fellow Californian, Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove Chevre.
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