Fall Couscous Salad – Israeli couscous, spinach, butternut squash. cranberries and pecans all tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Great fall salad for the holidays, potlucks, or just because.
I love squash season. As soon as fall hits, and squash is available in the store, I start to stock up. My family usually likes butternut squash that is baked until soft and then mashed. Mix in a little butter and salt and pepper, and it is a vegetable my entire family likes.
But I am always looking for new ways to use it. I love it roasted and slightly crispy around the edges. It makes a great substitute for roasted potatoes as a side dish.
My friend Lynne is kind of famous for her couscous chicken salad. Arugula, chicken, couscous, bell peppers, and feta all tossed together makes for one tasty salad. But I wanted to come up with my own version that didn’t have meat and was a fall salad recipe. Mixing up salads for Thanksgiving and the holidays is always a good idea. This Apple Broccoli Salad is definitely happening this year.
This summer my mom and I went to lunch, and I ordered a salad that had greens and quinoa. I love the mix of the crunchy greens with the grains, so I was excited to put together my fall version.
So let’s go thru the basics:
- Couscous. This is an Israeli couscous salad. So you will need the big pearl couscous. Cook it according to the package directions, and let it cool.
- Roast butternut squash until tender and browned. Let cool completely.
- Use whatever nuts you like. Almonds and pecans both pair well.
- Add cheese. I did not use cheese in my salad, but feta would be a great addition if you wanted to add it.
- Do not add the dressing to the salad until you are ready to serve.
The key to making this salad work is cooking the couscous and the squash ahead of time and letting them cool. If they are not, they will start to wilt the spinach and that would be a completely different salad. They don’t need to be cold, just not hot when it comes time to toss the salad together.
This Israeli couscous salad is the perfect fall salad recipe for all your party needs. You can use a store bought or homemade balsamic glaze on the top to make it extra special. Or just toss with the balsamic dressing recipe below and you will have a special salad all of your guests will approve of.
Fall Couscous Salad - Israeli couscous, spinach, butternut squash. cranberries and pecans all tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Great fall salad for the holidays, potlucks, or just because.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Israeli couscous, uncooked
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberies
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tender and turning golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Cook couscous according to package directions. Cool completely.
In a large bowl mix together spinach, couscous, squash, cranberries, onions, and pecans until well combined.
In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until well combined.
Pour dressing over the salad when ready to serve.