Butternut squash is one of my favorite seasonal ingredients. It’s light but filling, versatile, and adds the perfect amount of sweetness to any savory dish (more coming soon!). The only complaint I might have comes from cutting up a whole one. It’s not exactly “butter” as the name might imply. There are tricks to make the peeling, scraping, and dicing somewhat easier, but, I’ll admit, it still takes some work! When I was younger and wanted to dice one, I could see my mom cringing out of the corner of my eye as I pulled out the biggest knife of the block and went to work. Overall I’ve found that the effort is worth it; you can’t beat a warm bowl of butternut soup on a chilly fall night, or a beautiful hearty salad the next day. But, nevertheless, it’s nice to know that grocers are catching on to the struggle and supplying pre-chopped butternut squash in small packs. I almost always opt for whole produce (because it lasts longer and costs less) and prepare it myself, but for butternut squash I make an exception. It saves a considerable amount of time and effort and comes out just as wonderful! So, even if you’re short on time, or timid around massive sharp knives 😉 , this this salad can absolutely be yours. But if you can’t find any pre-chopped squash, starting with a whole one isn’t that bad; you can even get in a mini arm workout.
This recipe combines several of my favorite flavors and an amazing combination of textures into a healthy, filling, delicious fall salad. Serve it with crackers and fruit for a light, balanced meal, or as a colorful side at your Thanksgiving feast!
Roasted Butternut Black Bean Salad
- ~1 lb (16 oz) cubed butternut squash
- 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- sliced red onion
- spinach, mixed greens, or roughly chopped Romaine
- ~1/4 cup walnut halves
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- Dressing: 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp EVOO, 2 tsp honey*
- chopped fresh rosemary, optional
Preheat oven to 425º. Spread chopped butternut squash evenly on a baking sheet line with parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil, and roast about 25 minutes, until tender. You can do this step ahead of time and store the roasted squash in the refrigerator, or serve it warm. Then toast the walnuts, either in the oven/toaster oven, or in a dry skillet on the stovetop. Just be sure to watch them closely so they don’t burn! Cool for a few minutes then chop. Whisk the dressing ingredients (can also be done ahead). Combine the greens, butternut, beans, onion, chopped toasted walnuts, feta, and dressing. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh rosemary if desired, and enjoy!
*Feel free to double the dressing recipe and save some. This makes just enough for 4 in my opinion.