Beautiful, caramelized butternut squash all tossed with shredded ricotta salata then sprinkled with pomegranate arils and sage! This recipe for roasted butternut squash salad is here for all your fall and holiday needs. Simple, healthy and packed full of flavor. Yum!
Hey, everyone! Thanksgiving is coming!!! EEEK…..
In fact, it is going to be here before you know it since it is early this year. Double eeek…. 🙂
And of course that means it’s time to start posting all those Thanksgiving and holiday recipes which I’ve been testing and developing recently. I do have a pile of great Thanksgiving recipes already, but we can always have more. Like this butternut squash salad which is full of seasonal flavors and beautiful colors.
In this salad we have the soft greens of the sages, the oranges and browns of the roasted squash, both of which are such great fall colors as well as flavors; and then we have that intense POP of red and juicy sweetness in the pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate seeds are just so much fun to add to recipes! I used them in my delicata squash and shrimp rice bowl just recently and knew that they were just the thing for this salad too.
Lately we’ve been seeing them in little, sealed cups near the chopped cantaloupe and fresh fruit salads at the market, and I will admit that I’ve been snagging them on regular basis. However, we are also at the time of year where you can buy a fresh pomegranate and get your own seeds. Getting the cups is easy, but opening up a pomegranate is fun. It’s like a treasure hunt.
Yes, this is the sort of fun we have around here. 😉
But that’s not all the fun! I also finally bought myself a Y peeler. The fun never ends. 😀 While seriously this isn’t that exciting, I have to say that it has never been easier to peel a butternut squash.
Zip, Zip and I was done. I love it for potatoes too!
I’ll keep my swivel peeler for carrots and other small or skinny items, but that y peeler is coming out any time I have something large to peel.
I’ll have to bring it with me (along with a cup of pomegranate seeds) when I head up to my parent’s house at Thanksgiving. Mom has already requested that I make this salad as one of the side dishes and we’re looking through my archives to pick at least one more ‘new’ recipe for the feast.
Some things stay the same from year to year, and everyone brings a dish or two to the meal, but it’s good to mix things up a little each year. Over the years I’ve added more and more of my touches to the meal: appetizers, gravy, and I took over the desserts a while ago.
One year I was told they were going to buy the pies!!!
I was shocked. She apparently forgot that she has a daughter who makes pie regularly and makes the best apple pie around. They have permission to buy only if I can’t make it into town. Otherwise, I bring the pies (or make them there, depending on my schedule).
For Thanksgiving, since we are talking about a whole pile of cooking and a fair amount of juggling time and oven space, I plan to roast the squash and pine nuts the night before and put the squash into cold storage overnight.
Then I’ll let it sit out about 2 hours before we eat to come to room temperature. While the turkey is resting, I’ll toss in the dressing and the rest of the ingredients. (Which I’ll already have measured out and prepped.) This will allow maximum fresh flavor for minimum last minute work.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Ricotta Salata
- 1 medium butternut squash, about 2 cups diced
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 oz ricotta salata, shredded
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425F. Put the roasting pan in the oven to get it good and hot.
- Peel the butternut squash and cut it into 1 inch cubes. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the salt, and the sage. Add the diced squash to the hot roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Then turn the squash and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer the roasted squash to a serving bowl.
- Lower the heat to 350F. Spread out the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 2-3 minutes.
- Mix together the remaining olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a pinch of kosher salt. Pour the dressing over the warm squash and toss gently. Add the pine nuts, ricotta salata, and pomegranate arils and give the salad another stir. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Heating the roasting pan: To get a good sear and caramelization on the squash, you want to put the roasting pan in the oven while it preheats. If you use a cold roasting pan you won't get the browning.
- Pine nuts: Be careful when toasting the pine nuts. They brown fast and go to burnt quick. I like pine nuts here, but you can sub in walnuts or pecans.
- Pomegranate arils: These are often found already prepped near the diced fruit in the produce section of the supermarket. If you can't find either the arils or a fresh pomegranate, my standby is to use dried cranberries to provide the color and sweetness.
- Peeler: I recently bought an OXO Y peeler and it makes a big difference in peeling the squash easily and quickly.