It’s a thrill each fall to see the first display of butternut squash piled high at the market. I threw one in my shopping cart last week and couldn’t wait to transform it into something delicious, fun and fall-ish.
I decided on a pasta salad and after checking out the pantry, choose a bag of Israeli couscous (aka pearl pasta) for the base. While the water boiled for the pasta, I peeled and diced the butternut squash (if you’re looking for dinner-in-a-hurry, you can also purchase butternut squash at many markets, already peeled and diced).
The squash was then drizzled with a bit of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a scatter of freshly ground black pepper and popped into a hot oven. Twenty minutes later it was golden, tender and ready to toss together with the pasta, fresh sage, tiny peas and a super simple dressing. I love how quickly this Israeli Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad comes together.
The result is a delicious combination of homey comfort food and elegant gourmet fare, all rolled into one!
I served this Israeli Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad as a side with grilled burgers, but it would also be wonderful as a main dish salad with sliced chicken or grilled shrimp. A loaf of warm, crusty bread would be a perfect partner for a simple lunch or dinner.
Want to make something delicious, fun and fall-ish? Add butternut squash to your grocery list and make this Israeli Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad for dinner one evening this week. Hopefully you’ll have some leftovers, as it makes a wonderful, healthy lunch for taking to school or work.
- 3 cups peeled diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch dice (about 1/2 of a medium size squash)
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups kale leaves tough stems removed, leaves sliced thinly, crosswise
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 8 ounces Israeli couscous pearl pasta, cups
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium shallots finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups tiny frozen peas thawed
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Combine the squash and the olive oil on a sheet pan and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 10 minutes then remove from oven and stir. Roast for another 8-10 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
- Place sliced kale in a large bowl and set aside.
- While the squash is roasting, bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium size pot. Add pearl pasta, return to a boil then reduce to a steady simmer. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta and immediately transfer to the bowl with the kale. Stir gently for a minute to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap for 2-3 minutes until kale begins to wilt.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat in a small sauté pan. Add shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent then addd sage and cook for 30 seconds longer. Add sherry vinegar and stir to combine. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous ground of fresh, black pepper. Transfer shallot mixture to the bowl with the pasta. Add peas and butternut squash and stir gently