Today is the first day of Fall and this salad is a perfect way to usher in the new season. This salad would really be delicious anytime of the year and if you added a protein it would make a delicious dinner salad. It is just perfection on a plate. Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Fairly Healthy and you can keep it vegan without any dairy or add cheese for a delicious vegetarian salad . It takes a bit of prep work but you can prep a few hours ahead and be done with it prior to the meal which is always a good thing in my book.
I prepped butternut squash and couscous and used baby arugula this time. I dressed the salad and let it sit , Kale is better when it’s soft and broken down so if you’re using Kale I suggest chopping it. I love Kale but don’t want to feel like I’m eating my front lawn. It is delicious with kale or arugula or really any greens you prefer.
If you like a heavier dressed salad I would definitely double up the salad dressing. Or just pour a little over it and leave extra for individual dressing.
This is what I did. Enjoy and Happy Fall.
1 lb . butternut squash – 1 package of pre-cut squash and then I cut into small 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste
1 cup dry Pearl Couscous , cook in water according to package directions
app. 2 cups chopped Kale Leaves or Arugula is also a great choice if you’re not a kale fan or really 2 cups of any kind of greens you like.
1/3-1/2 cup dried cherries–you can use craisins, raisins, cranberries whatever dried fruit you like -if you like less use 1/3 cup I tend to use more
1/3-1/2 cup chopped walnuts–same as above and you can obviously omit if you don’t like or use chopped pecans or other nuts
*app. 2 oz. crumbled goat or feta cheese if you’d like– I like the creaminess that goat cheese delivers so I use it over feta in this but use whichever you prefer
Orange Vinaigrette Dressing:
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Freshly-Squeezed Orange Juice –this is a must
pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste
To make the salad:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes.
Spread the butternut squash out in an even layer on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray add 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil to squash to coat, sprinkle a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to the squash . Bake for 15 minutes then flip squash over (as best you can) Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the squash is tender and slightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer back to the large mixing bowl. Depending on your oven the squash could take a little longer to cook, you just want it soft enough that it’s cooked through and a little browned up
Couscous: buy pearled Israeli Couscous –available everywhere Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil add 1 cup Couscous a sprinkle of salt and return to a boil . Reduce heat and simmer covered till tender about 15 minutes.
To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk all ingredients, (orange juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and pinch of salt and pepper to taste. I used all of the vinaigrette and it was very lightly dressed and rather tasty. If you prefer more dressing on the side , double the recipe.
Add cooked couscous, kale, cherries, walnuts, goat cheese* and vinaigrette, toss to combine. Taste for Salt and Pepper after all combined.
Serve Warm, or refrigerate and this will keep for app. 3 days in fridge.
It’s a very light salad dressing so the kale absorbs it and it will keep nicely in fridge.