Warm Spinach Salad with Figs & Butternut Squash (Paleo & Vegan)

It seems like the blog world is sprinting at a million miles an hour. When I first started religiously food-stalking in high school, the blog world was small. While I have no idea how much it has grown, it certainly seems like there are more than ten bloggers today for every blogger there was in the mid-2000s. It's more than the numbers: the opportunities for bloggers to do things outside of their blog have erupted, too. Back then there were clubs like the Daring Bakers and support groups like Adopt-a-Blogger (my blog at the time was adopted by Jordan of Kitchen Karate). A few, standout bloggers seemed to be going above and beyond, scoring deals to author cookbooks, or speak on talk shows. These days, bloggers blog like it's nobody's business. Actually, they blog like it is their business and in a few cases, it really is.

You're probably wondering why I'm rambling about this. It turned into more of a ramble than I intended. But when I started Foraged Dish, I was shocked by the number of opportunities that immediately presented themselves to me. 

The thing is, I didn't start blogging because I wanted to write a cookbook, or because I wanted to become a full-time power-blogger. I just wanted somewhere to channel my creativity, and somewhere to share my recipes. One email I received, however, was too good to pass up -- I was immediately excited not just about being a (small) part of it, but about the over all project. Have you heard of Health Recipes Magazine? It's an eMagazine full of simple, delicious recipes that help people live healthier lives. 

Back in June, I got an email from Shanna, the executive editor of the publication. I was shocked: You want to feature my recipeReally? But I was also completely excited. Health Recipes Magazine wasn't just any run-of-the-mill health-washed publication. The editors hand pick recipes from bloggers to make sure they truly are nourishing. It's all about giving people recipes that are good for them, and then inspiring them to try them. That's why I responded with a decisive "Yes!"

My recipe for Lamb Chops with Strawberry, Mint and Truffle Sauce is featured in the latest edition of Healthy Recipes Magazine. Visit their website and subscribe to see it, here

Now, I wasn't going to write you a blog post and not include a new recipe, so I've included photos and a recipe for one of my new favorite side dishes -- Warm Spinach Salad with Caramelized Figs and Butternut Squash. With a nice mixture of sweet and savory, this is an easy side dish that looks (and tastes) completely decadent. 

Warm Spinach Salad with Caramelized Figs and Butternut Squash

1 tablespoon coconut oil

6 figs, halved

2 cups raw butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 small red onion

5 cups fresh spinach (baby OR chopped normal spinach)

Salt to taste

Optional for serving: Almonds

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1. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet until it sizzles. Place the fig halves flesh-side down in the hot oil, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and the sugars begin to caramelize. Remove from pan, set aside.

2. Place the butternut squash and garlic in the pan with the oil. SautΓ© the squash until it is soft and crisping on the edges (to get a nice sear on the squash, stir infrequently, allowing each side to crisp up before turning). 

3. While the squash cooks, slice the red onion into very thin slices or mince it.

4. Turn off the stove, and add the red onion and spinach to the skillet. Stir to combine. Until the spinach begins to wilt. Add salt to taste. Scoop everything into your serving dish. Arrange the figs over the top of the salad.

5. Serve warm. Optional: Sprinkle with slivered almonds before serving (this adds a nice crunch factor).

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