In early September, I visited a small Italian cafe for lunch. They had a pumpkin ravioli and butternut squash salad on special that I tried and loved! The salad came topped with cold ravioli, and a mixed berry vinaigrette on the side. I loved all the fall flavors, and the colors reminded me of the holidays. This months recipe redux theme was to create “naturally-colored/naturally-dyed holiday fare.” When I recreated this holiday butternut pecan salad with berry vinaigrette, I knew it was perfect for the redux!
I decided to leave out the pumpkin ravioli. The Italian restaurant made their own, and they were fantastic. Instead, I added candied pecans to the salad to fill it out, and make it perfect for the holidays! Serve this salad as a light main dish during the holiday season, or as a side during your holiday gathering!
Variations to the Holiday Butternut Pecan Salad with Berry Vinaigrette recipe:
- Use white wine vinegar for a sweeter dressing, or red wine vinegar for a bolder dressing.
- Use the weekend warrior technique! Roast an entire butternut squash and use it to whip up easy bowls and salads all week long!
- Substitution ideas: Feta or goat cheese for blue cheese; Almonds or pistachios for pecans. Use what you have on hand!
- ½ cup pecans
- 1 TBS maple syrup
- ¼ cup raspberries
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 TBS white or red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ⅔ cup roasted butternut squash cubes
- 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled or diced
- 3-4 cups spring mix, or your favorite greens
- Place pecans in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast stirring frequently until evenly browned and toasty, about 3-5 minutes. Pour maple syrup into hot skillet and quickly stir to coat. Scoop candied pecans onto a piece of parchment paper. Spread them out to cool.
- In a mini food processor, combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette. Process until smooth.
- On two plates, divide the spring mix, butternut squash, blue cheese, and pecans.
- Serve each salad with half of the vinaigrette. (If you put it in a small bowl on the side of the plate, it makes nice presentation to show off those holiday colors!)
Recipe inspired by Tina’s Italian Cafe.