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Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cherries and Pecans

butternut squash and wild rice salad with dried cherries and pecans in gray bowl.

This delicious Fall salad is bursting with flavor and color that will delight all of your senses!

A good hearty salad is hard to beat! Not only does this salad taste amazing but it screams Fall with the butternut squash, wild rice and apple cider vinaigrette. You can make this as a salad without the chicken shown in the photo as a side salad or add your favorite protein (meat or vegan) to make it a more substantial meal.

What You’ll Need:

  • butternut squash
  • wild rice
  • dried cherries
  • pecans
  • avocado and olive oil
  • pure maple syrup
  • apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • protein optional (cooked chicken, tofu, etc.)

Making the Recipe:

You’ll start by making the wild rice, because that usually takes the longest to cook. Rinse the rice and add it and the water along with some salt to a saucepan. Bring the pan to a boil and then simmer, usually for 35-45 minutes. I recommend looking at your rice package for instructions on cooking time.

While the rice cooks, peel the butternut squash and cut it up into bite sized pieces. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat the squash with the avocado oil, maple syrup and some salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender.

Next, you can make the vinaigrette while the other ingredients finish cooking. Set it aside until you are ready to serve the salad.

You can either make individual salads or make one big salad in a large serving bowl. I like to put the salads in individual bowls when I have people with dietary restrictions or may be pickier eaters, so that people can decide what to include or not in their salads.

Print
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butternut squash and wild rice salad with dried cherries and pecans in gray bowl.

Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cherries and Pecans

  • Author: Cheryl Englebretson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This delicious Fall salad is bursting with flavor and color that will delight all of your senses!


Ingredients

Scale

For the Roasted Squash:

  • 3 cups of butternut squash, peeled and diced into cubes
  • 3 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, organic extra virgin cold pressed
  • 2 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

For the Salad Base:

  • 6 cups organic mixed greens & herbs (purchased blend or mix your own)
  • 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked
  • 3 cups roasted squash mixture (see above)
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup pecans (candied or roasted)

 


Instructions

  1. Rinse the wild rice and place it in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and ¼ tsp. sea salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 35-45 minutes. Check your package for cooking time, as it can vary based on the rice you buy.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking pan with parchment.
  3. Peel the butternut squash.  Slice and cut the squash into cubes. Try to keep the cubes fairly even in size so they cook evenly.
  4. Place the squash in a mixing bowl.  Add in the avocado oil, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper and mix together well.  Put the mixture on the baking tray and place in the oven.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Once the squash is cooked, set it aside to cool.
  7. Mix all of the vinaigrette ingredients together and whisk.  Set it aside.
  8. Put the greens in a large mixing bowl, add in the squash, wild rice, pecans, and dried cherries. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and serve.
  9. Top with some herbed goat cheese, if not eating dairy free. (optional)

Notes

  • Squash – substitute acorn squash or another of your favorites for the butternut.
  • Greens – not everyone likes every type of green. Use a mix of greens/herbs that will give you a variety of nutrients and you enjoy eating. Kale or arugula would also work nicely.
  • If not eating vegan or vegetarian, consider adding some grilled chicken to this recipe to make it a heartier main meal.
  • Add some cooked quinoa or buckwheat groats instead of the wild rice, if you prefer.

Keywords: gluten free, dairy free and vegan option

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