Butternut Squash Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Pecans

This weekend my husband and I spent the weekend touring around Northern Neck, Virginia, checking out West Point’s crab carnival, having Eggs Chesapeake for brunch while watching the boats on the Rappahannock River, and eating goose our friend made us. The theme of the weekend was surely crabs, crabs, crabs which was fitting because not only were we right next to the Chesapeake Bay but it also felt much more like the peak of summer than it did October with temperatures in the 90s. Despite my love for crabs, what got me even more excited and ready for fall were all the road-side produce stands we passed on our trip. All I could think of was all the variations of butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash I could try out and how I could use pumpkin in cupcakes, muffins, and as dip as well as decorating our front porch with lots and lots of mums! So the minute we got home, I decided to at least have our weekend end on a fall note and whipped together this salad. There are so many additional toppings you can add to it including bacon or apples. Also, an apple cider vinaigrette would match well with the flavors in the salad for something other than balsamic. The butternut squash itself could also be paired with some sautéed peppers and onions as a side dish for another meal if you decide to cook the entire squash at once.

Butternut salad 5

Ingredients for Butternut Squash:

  • Half of a Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Equipment Needed:

  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking sheet

Instructions for Butternut Squash:

  • After combining olive oil, pepper, salt, rosemary, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl, add butternut squash and toss. Once coated, place butternut squash cubes in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • With your oven on broil, place baking sheet on the top rack in your oven and broil for 12-15 minutes or until the edges have turned brown, rotating pan for even cooking.

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 4 cups of mixed greens or spinach
  • ½ cup of chopped pecans, toasted
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Blue Cheese crumbles

Equipment Needed:

  • Large mixing bowl or salad bowl
  • Spoon to mix and serve

Instructions for Assembling Salad:

  • Toss together mixed greens, pecans, cranberries, and butternut squash. Then drizzle balsamic vinaigrette on top and add blue cheese crumbles. Makes 2 servings.