Continuing the butternut squash – themed recipes featuring my homegrown squash! This seasonal salad combines Roasted Butternut Squash with Garlic Bread Bites, Kale and a fresh Cranberry-Pear Vinaigrette.
Nothing pairs better with butternut squash than butternut squash seed oil! I found this bottle while in Ithaca, NY and have really grown to love it. I use it to roast the butternut squash cubes in this recipe, but you could use olive oil if you didn’t want to splurge on this. It would make a great foodie gift though! It’s definitely a stronger flavored oil than an olive or avocado oil which makes it perfect for drizzling on roasted vegetables.
It’s made from the seeds that are leftover from pre-cut squash sold to supermarkets. So it’s a zero-waste product – meaning instead of tossing all those seeds, they get transformed into this nutty oil! In addition, the leftover scraps from the pressed seeds are sent to feed farm animals and the smallest bits are recycled to be used as exfoliators in artisan bar soaps! All of that from the simple butternut squash.
This salad is full of everything that’s currently in season – winter squash, kale, pears, cranberries…it really makes for a colorful winter palette!
All of this gets tossed with toasted bread cubes that have been coated with butternut squash oil and crushed garlic to create the ultimate crouton.
Let’s dig in!
- 3/4 cup frozen cranberries thawed
- 1 Tbs honey mustard
- 3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 very ripe pear peeled and core removed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- pinch of Kosher salt and pepper
- option: add an extra tablespoon of honey if you need extra sweetness
- 1.5 Tbs butternut squash seed oil or olive oil
- 3 cups butternut squash cubed into 1" pieces
- 1 bunch kale deribbed and chopped (about 2.5 cups packed)
- 1.5 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups 1" bread cubes from a seedy whole grain baguette
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 Tbs butternut squash seed oil or olive oil
Mix butternut squash with squash seed oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet for 20 min @ 400F until tender.
Mix kale with lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Massage juice and salt into kale for a few minutes and let rest.
In a blender or Cuisinart, pureé the pear. Add in thawed cranberries and pulse to break up the cranberries. Add in honey mustard and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle in olive oil together and blend until completely combined. Season with salt and pepper and extra honey if desired.
Heat squash oil in large skillet over medium heat.
Add crushed garlic and heat until fragrant, about 30 sec.
Add bread cubes and stir until coated with oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Toast in skillet for about 5 minutes, tossing until sides get a little crisp and golden. Careful not to let the oil get too hot and start to smoke. The garlic will get a little crispy and some of the seeds from the bread will break off and get toasted - these bits are excellent sprinkled over the squash salad.
On a platter or in individual bowls, add kale, squash and bread cubes together. Dress with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
You may have extra butternut squash cubes...just roast them all. Save them for later!
If you won't eat the whole salad in one sitting, keep the ingredients separate so you can heat the butternut squash and the bread won't get soggy in the dressing.