A flavour packed salad made with oven roasted butternut squash, tossed with creamy white beans and topped with a delicious pumpkin seed pesto. Enjoy this salad as a meal on it’s own or serve it as a side to your favourite Mediterranean main!
I like salads that are substantial enough to be a meal in itself. Like many of you, I don't have much time to spend in the kitchen, at least the one at home. For such busy days, I love to make this butternut squash salad.
It provides all the nutrition one needs, it's filling enough to replace a meal and tastes so darn delicious. And for those who take lunches to their office, this salad travels well too!
Include the butternut squash salad in your meal prep, it is perfect to make ahead and large batches can be stored in the fridge for days.
Butternut squash is a winter squash and my favourite type of pumpkin. They are sweet and nutty and hold their shape well when roasted.
WHAT YOU NEED
Butternut Squash is the hero of the dish. Look for a squash that feels heavy. The skin should be hard without bruises. A smaller bulb means less seeds!
Butter Beans are also called lima beans. Best to buy them already cooked in a can - saves time! Though make sure you wash them well before using.
Pepitas or pumpkin seeds are used in the pesto. Buy them raw (not roasted).
Parsley is the herb I chose for the pesto. Feel free to substitute with other herbs like basil, coriander or oregano.
Yoghurt adds creaminess to the dish and makes a nice presentation. You can use crème fraiche or sour cream instead or replace with a creamy chickpea hummus.
Garlic & Onion both are added raw to the dish. Red onion works best but you can use shallots as well. Cook the garlic or leave it out if you don't like raw garlic.
Other ingredients used are olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and cumin.
AS A NOTE: If you make this salad for lunch to take to work, I would suggest leaving out the raw garlic and onions or replace with their cooked versions.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD
The butternut squash can be oven roasted or pan roasted, totally up to you!
roasting the squash
To roast the squash, remove the peel from the pumpkin first. Use a sharp knife and make sure your cutting board is secure.
Cut the pumpkin in half and sit them with the cut side down. Peel and then cut into even large cubes.
Place them on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the thyme sprigs and toss well.
Roast in a pre-heated oven at 200°C / 400°F for 25-30 minutes or until done and put aside to cool.
making the pumpkin seed pesto
This pumpkin seed pesto is an easier version of the more common basil pesto. I like to use a mortar and pestle but a mixer with a pulse function works fine as well. The idea is to still have crunchy pieces of pumpkin seeds in the pesto.
To toast the pumpkin seeds, keep the pan on low flame until they start popping and take on a brownish colour. Meanwhile chop the parsley by hand as fine as possible.
Add to the mortar and pestle together with the toasted pumpkin seeds (keep a few aside to garnish), raw grated or chopped garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Grind with the pestle for 1-2 minutes until all is well combined. Keep covered in the fridge for when needed.
preparing the garnish
In a bowl mix the yoghurt with the cumin powder, olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Slice the red onions on a mandoline and seperate the rings. I like to do this right before I plate up the salad, otherwise the onions start turning mushy.
plating the salad
The salad can be part of a meal plated up in a nice way or just tossed together for a quick casual meal.
To plate the salad, combine the roasted pumpkin with the white beans. There is enough olive oil in the roasted pumpkin to combine well with the beans but if you find the salad too dry, add a splash of olive oil. Though keep in mind the pumpkin seed pesto acts like a dressing.
Now, spread a generous amount of yoghurt on a wide plate and using the back of a spoon, spread the yoghurt into a ring.
Place the butternut squash and white bean salad in the middle of the plate. Spoon the pumpkin seed pesto over the salad.
Decorate with the red onion rings and the remaining pumpkin seeds and the parsley leaves.
For a simpler version, toss all ingredients except the yoghurt in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the salad with the cumin yoghurt and you are done!
Yes it certainly can! Leave out the yoghurt and the entire salad will be vegan and dairy free too. The yoghurt can be replaced with a creamy chickpea hummus.
Yes, absolutely. While butternut squash is the best pumpkin for roasting, you can use any other pumpkin too. Just check the doneness while roasting, other pumpkins might take less time.
The salad keeps well in the fridge covered for at least 3 days. If you keep all components separately (pumpkin salad/ pesto/ yoghurt) it will be safe to eat for at least 5 days.
what to eat it with
The salad can be part of a share style meal. It goes well with similar Mediterranean flavours.
I suggest this braised lamb shank recipe - shanks oven braised with figs and oriental spices or with our tabouleh salad made with bulgur wheat, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs, and finished with a lemony dressing!
If you’ve tried this Butternut Squash Salad with White Beans and Pesto I’d love to hear how you enjoyed it! Pop a comment and a star rating below!
Butternut Squash Salad with White Beans and Pesto
- mortar and pestle
- oven tray
- mixing bowls
- micro grater
- small pan
- 1 small butternut squash
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 150 gram white butter beans (lima beans)
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley and some leaves for garnish
- 1 glove garlic peeled
- 3 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 1 small red onion peeled
- 250 gram greek yoghurt
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
- 160 millilitre olive oil
- salt, pepper to taste
for the roasted butternut squash
- Cut both end parts of the butternut squash and cut in half. Place the squash with the cut side on your chopping board and cut alongside the pumpkin removing the skin. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove any seeds seeds with a spoon.
- Now cut the squash into 2.5cm/ 1-inch cubes. Place the squash cubes on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the thyme sprigs and toss well.
- Roast in a pre-heated oven at 200°C / 400°F or 25-30 minutes or until done and put aside to cool.
for the pumpkin seed pesto
- Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small pan on low flame until they start popping and take on a brownish colour. Meanwhile chop the parsley by hand as fine as possible.
- In a mortar and pestle combine the chopped parsley with the toasted pumpkin seeds (keep a few aside to garnish). Use a micro grater and grate the garlic inside the mortar. Season with salt and pepper and add about 90ml/ ⅓ cup olive oil to start.
- Grind the mixture with the pestle to a pesto like consistency. Add more olive oil until it reaches a consistency that is runny enough to be used as a dressing.
for the garnish
- In a bowl combine the yoghurt with cumin powder, a tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Slice the red onion thinly on the mandoline and set aside. Preferably do this step right before plate up as we don't want the onion rings to turn mushy
for plate up
- To plate the salad, combine the roasted pumpkin with the white beans. There is enough olive oil in the roasted pumpkin to combine well with the beans but if you feel the salad is too dry, add a splash of olive oil. Keep in mind though the pesto acts like a dressing.
- Spread a generous amount of yoghurt on a wide plate. Using the back of a spoon spread the yoghurt into a ring. Place the butternut squash mixture in the middle and spoon the pumpkin seed pesto over the salad. Garnish with the red onion rings, remaining pumpkin seeds, parsley leaves and serve.