Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter Salad

I have an incredibly hard time eating salad in the winter. Most days it’s the absolute last thing I want to eat. I readily set good intentions aside in favor of warm, nostalgic comfort food. In early January, I tried to do a cleanse of sorts – no caffeine, no sugar, super healthy meals. It seemed like a good idea after all that rich holiday food. Wrong. I made it four grumpy, pouty days and then called it quits and decided to put the whole thing on hold until spring. I simply can’t eat super healthy in the winter. It’s just not in me.

Therefore, I’ve been trying to find ways to winterize my salads to make them more appealing to my cold-weather palette. The solution? Butternut squash roasted to sweet perfection, with couscous, red wine vinaigrette, and cranberries to add a touch of sweetness. Now that's a salad I can handle in the winter!

Winter Butternut Squash Salad

The couscous:

1 c. couscous

1 ¼ c. chicken broth

1 tbs. olive oil or butter

¼ tsp. salt

1 c. dried cranberries

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

2-3 shallots (or 1 small onion), diced small

The vinaigrette:

3 tbs. red or white wine vinegar

1 tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. orange zest

¼ tsp. coriander

¾ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. cumin

1 tsp. of salt


Chopped fresh parsley

Small handful of chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with olive or grapeseed oil and spread out on baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (the squash should be tender but not mushy). Allow to cool completely.

Saute shallots until tender. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette. Set aside.

Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add couscous, ¼ tsp. salt, and olive oil or butter. Boil for one minute then cover and remove from heat for 5-8 minutes. To the couscous, add cranberries, garbanzo beans, sautéed shallots, and cooled squash. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and gently mix together until all ingredients are coated with the vinaigrette. Spoon onto plates and top with chopped fresh parsley and chopped walnuts. Enjoy!

Note: Recipe adapted from - The Kitchn


  1. Oh, yessss. This looks wonderful. Hearty, filling, but still healthy. I love the addition of the walnuts with the squach. Great idea!

  2. This looks so good to me--I love butternut squash, and what a great way way to liven up a winter salad!

  3. What a colorful, pretty winter salad! Sounds absolutely delicious and you've made a salad into comfort food! Good for you! :)

  4. I had to come back and tell you, I had butternut squash on the brain after reading this post. I happened to already have one in the refrigerator that I hadn't cooked yet. So I roasted it in the oven and I'm eating as a before bed snack, of all things! It's so good! Thanks!

  5. Julie - Glad that you enjoyed the squash! Any veggie is great roasted - but especially butternut squash - it really brings out the sweetness.

    Thank you all for your nice comments!