Butternut Squash Salad Cups
Here's a new way of serving a side salad that may raise a few eyebrows. Butternut squash salad cups showcase vibrant colors, contrasting textures and tons of crunch. And yes, they're delicious too.
Servings (change as needed): 10 lettuce cups
- 2 pounds butternut squash, diced into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon Optional
- 1/2 large English cucumber, diced 1/4 inch (if using regular cucumber, remove seeds)
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted nuts Note 1
- Balsamic drizzle Note 2 (or use your favorite vinaigrette instead)
- 1 romaine lettuce, about 10-12 leaves, chilled (Bibb, Boston or Iceberg lettuce can be substituted)
Additional fillings (optional)
- crumbled goat or ricotta cheese, chopped apple, pomegranate seeds, chopped seedless grapes, chives, crispy fried onions,
HEAT OVEN TO 450F. Line large pan with parchment or foil sprayed with oil.
ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH CUBES: Toss butternut squash cubes with oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper and cinnamon (if using). Place on pan in single layer. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir/flip and roast for another 10-15 minutes until soft with browned, caramelized edges. Can be set aside to cool. It does not have to be served warm.
ASSEMBLE CLOSE TO SERVING TIME: Lay out 10 lettuce leaves on a platter or individual plates. Distribute roasted butternut squash and cucumber among leaves. Add other other fillings you like. Sprinkle on nuts. Just before serving, drizzle on balsamic reduction (or a salad dressing if you prefer).
- Nuts: I use walnuts or pecans. Cashews, macadamia or other nuts are ok too. To roast, place in preheated 350F oven for 5-7 minutes until fragrant. Cool. You can also put them in the oven while squash is roasting for about 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
- To make your own Balsamic Glaze/Reduction. I usually buy it, but it's easy to make your own if you prefer. Bring to boil a half cup of balsamic vinegar and two tablespoons honey or brown sugar. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes until it reduces by half to a syrup consistency (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon). You will likely not need it all.
- Make Ahead: The preparation of each component - roasting the squash, cutting the cucumber, roasting the nuts, preparing the lettuce - can all be done ahead of time. Assemble closer to serving time and add the balsamic drizzle just before serving.
Serving: 10g | Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 121mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 9903IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg