One of my favorite things about Food & Wine magazine is their Salad of the Month page. The November 2015 issue features 6 salads using butternut squash and I have been obsessing over it since I got my copy in the mail. What a relief to see salads featuring butternut squash that do not contain dried cranberries! While that combo is delicious, it is January and I’m ready to move on from the predictable fall recipes. This version was created using ingredients I already had on hand – my usual pantry stash. Why? Because I don’t want to buy several different ingredients to make a weeknight salad. And because I usually have a partially consumed clamshell container of fresh thyme in my fridge and don’t want to be wasteful. And thus this simple butternut squash salad with thyme vinaigrette was created.
I’m probably the last person to notice that you can buy pre-cut cubes of butternut squash at grocery stores now. Weeknight dinners are always a rush and prepping a butternut squash is too time consuming for most nights. And while I usually avoid buying pre-cut veggies, I will make an exception here. This recipe was tested using both freshly cut butternut squash and the 12 oz bags from Trader Joe’s, although I have seen pre-cut versions at several other grocery stores. Cutting it yourself is usually a less expensive option, but do what works for you. 1 standard size butternut squash weighs about 2 lbs, so plan accordingly. I usually cut the squash smaller than the pre-cut versions just to roast them a bit faster. If I’m really feeling lazy I will saute the cubes on the stovetop, although they are not quite as delicious this way.
So this is really simple. You roast the cubed butternut squash while creating the dressing in the base of your salad bowl. Add some parmesan along with romaine lettuce for crunch, and you are ready to go!
|Butternut Squash Salad with Thyme Vinaigrette|| |
- 1.5-2 lb cubed butternut squash (the equivalent to 1 whole)
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- ½ cup pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°
- Place the butternut squash on lined baking sheet
- Add 2 tablespoons neutral oil, salt and pepper and toss together
- Roast the squash for 20-45 minutes, turning once every10 minutes, until squash is soft. Cooking time will vary dramatically depending on the size and shape of your pieces
- One your squash looks like it is almost but not quite done, sprinkle the pecans on the baking sheet
- Mix vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and thyme in the base of your salad bowl
- Add in chopped lettuce, parsley, and parmesan
- Add in cooled butternut squash and pecans
- Toss and serve