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6 Butternut Squash Salad Cups each on a salad plate sitting on table 3
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5 from 8 votes

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad, starter
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 10 lettuce cups

Ingredients

Butternut Squash

  • 2 lbs butternut squash, diced into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon Optional

Other ingredients

  • 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,

Instructions

  • 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).

Notes

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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