Butternut squash is available year round and is packed with flavor, healthy fiber, and nutrients. But I find it a time-consuming ugly mess to peel and cut! Solution: Fresh, ready-to-cook squash (available in many produce sections) makes a big production super simple. Just open the package, dump it into the bowl, nuke it a few minutes, and it’s salad-ready.
Butternut Squash & Strawberry Salad – Walnut Honey Vinaigrette
| Serves 4 |
147 calories per serving
- 18 ounces butternut squash, cut into large
- salad size pieces
- 10 ounces strawberries, rinsed and dried
- 1 sprig fresh mint (4-5 medium leaves)
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- Optional: 1/2 ounce goat cheese crumbles (about 2 tablespoons)- adds 12 calories per serving
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 1/2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon honey balsamic vinegar*
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
*I’m a fan of O Olive Oil‘s Honey White Balsamic Vinegar. Its rich honey flavor – detectable without being overt – partners beautifully with walnut oil. Another option is to use plain balsamic vinegar plus a teaspoon of honey.
Prepare the salad ingredients: Transfer the squash to a microwave-safe bowl and add two tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Microwave on high for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave oven. ((In a 900 watt microwave it takes about 7 minutes.) Drain off the water and transfer the squash to the fridge so that it cools to room temperature. Hull the strawberries (see photo, below) , slice in half, and set aside.
Make the dressing: In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients until emulsified. Taste-test the dressing on a berry. Adjust the seasoning according to taste.
Assemble the salad: Add the strawberries to the bowl with the butternut squash. Tear the mint leaves into small pieces over the salad. Toss the salad with a light coating of the dressing. Garnish with the walnuts and goat cheese, if desired. Serve, and enjoy!