Butternut squash has quickly become one of the most adored and quintessential Autumn favorites on menus and kitchen tables alike. The first time I really ever had butternut squash that I loved, the squash was cut into bite-sized pieces and roasted to a slight crisp, spiced and salty and sweet all at the same time. Though I have since diversified my spice blends, integrating warming cinnamon and nutmeg with honey, I always return to this same recipe.
My work schedule is quite hectic. With four jobs, I don’t always have time to completely think my lunches through. On the days when I work from the office, my lunch is usually quickly thrown together with mixed greens and various toppings… Hopefully the combination forms a salad that will sound as appealing at lunch time as it did when I was sleepily and haphazardly putting it together! One day in particular, I combined pomegranate seeds, roasted butternut squash, and a balsamic vinaigrette. Lunchtime was disappointing that day, as I was left thinking of all the things I could have added to the salad to make it even better… I was determined to try again.
The next day I got it right. This salad has everything; the apple balsamic vinaigrette contributes a rich tang alongside crunchy pomegranate seeds and fresh apple, which both add to the sweetness that is achieved with the butternut squash. Spicy chicken sausage, feta cheese and crunchy pecans and walnuts put the final touches on this gorgeous Autumn salad. I can see this salad as an individual lunch, as pictured here, or as a starter salad to your next dinner party or Thanksgiving gathering.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Serves 4 (depending on size of squash)
Time: 1 hour
1 medium sized butternut squash
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3/4 tsp chili powder (light/mild)
1/4 to 1 tsp hot chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
- Cut the top and bottom ends off of the squash. Peel all of the thick skin off with a vegetable peeler. *Be careful when peeling and chopping!*
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds. You can reserve the seeds to roast them (like pumpkin seeds, but smaller and way cuter) if you want to- I usually do.
- Slice the squash into 1 inch half-circles and half-moons
- Chop into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl
- Sprinkle all of the spices on the squash and toss to coat.
- Grease a cookie sheet with 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil and spread butternut squash cubes evenly (you will probably need 2 baking sheets). Drizzle 1-1 1/2 tsp melted coconut oil evenly over the butternut squash.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for about 25-35 minutes, tossing half way through. The squash is done when it is tender and the edges are slightly crispy.
The Perfect Autumn Salad
Time: 10 minutes
1 Tbsp apple butter
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
3 cups mixed greens
1 apple, chopped
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 spicy chicken sausage, removed from casing and cooked
1-2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Pecans and Walnuts, to top
Combine apple butter, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and pepper in a small container. You can also add thyme or rosemary if you would like. Seal tightly and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside.
Wash greens and apple. Cut apple into bite-sized pieces and add to the greens in a salad bowl. Add the pomegranate seeds, sausage, nuts and feta. Toss with vinaigrette and enjoy!
I hope that you are all as excited for Thanksgiving as I am!!
Tell me, what is your favorite Autumn salad? I have seen some very innovative ones lately!
Find another salad favorite here: Tangy and Sweet Arugula Salad
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