Who wants a ridiculously easy, yet incredibly flavorful side dish for Thanksgiving? Everyone raise their hands! Roasted Squash Salad with Sage Brown Butter is your answer.
For us, squash is a staple item both for every day eating and for Thanksgiving. Give me a plate of roasted squash any day and I’ll be satisfied. But, we knew we had to dial-up the wow factor for the upcoming holiday.
What I was not willing to do is overcomplicate an otherwise simple dish. I have learned over the years, the hard way of course, that I cannot do it all. I cannot make the entire meal from scratch when all the dishes have 15 steps and 20 ingredients. It is impossible to enjoy time with my family when I spend the entire day in the kitchen. It’s not realistic to think I can make my food look like a magazine cover. What I can do, is pull inspiration from the best magazines, books and blogs, make things my own, and simplify them. If I have the time, I can give extra TLC to a few dishes, but not all. I know my limits, or I like to think I do.
That friends, is my lesson for you this holiday season. Understand what you can and can’t do, and be honest with yourself and others. People care about the food, yes, but they care most about you.
Now that my rant is complete, let’s dig into this dish, featuring two star squashes.
Kabocha is a lot like Butternut but has a richer flavor, and straight up melts in your mouth. Delicata on the other hand, is a cross between a firm and sweet squash. It holds up to high heat roasting extremely well, and maintains a slight bite. Which is why we paired these two together in this Roasted Squash Salad. They balance each other extremely well.
By now you know we’re no stranger to brown butter around here, considering it makes every dish better. However, I generally prefer to reserve it for special occasions. Telling a guest you are serving a dish with brown butter earns you automatic oohs and ahhs. It feels decadent and over the top, and yet is the simplest form of fancy.
Sage is also a classic combo with squash, one that appears on many holiday menus. Here we cook it with the butter, where it transforms into something really unique. Crisp bits of sage sing through and add mild notes of freshness to the rich butter.
This is my new favorite topping for everything. Or at least for topping on every special occasion dish. Friday night dinner is a special occasion right?
It feels sort of funny to call this dish a salad, considering there are no greens present, and yet that’s exactly what it is. The caramelized squash is the base, with bright acidic note from the pomegranate, and a toasty crunch from the pumpkin seeds.
If you prefer your salad with greens, you can absolutely cool the squash to room temperature and use these ingredients as toppings. In fact, one of our favorite things is to covert leftovers into a new meal. When testing this recipe, we did just that, and would absolutely recommend this variation.
The next day, toss a handful of arugula with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, add the leftover squash and seeds, and top it all off with a few crumbles of goat cheese. It is pure bliss.
See what we did there? We gave you two solid dishes, and ideas how to make this beauty last after the initial holiday meal. We know you want want to join the brown butter party.
You can also easily modify the salad to suit your tastes. Don’t eat butter? Use ghee instead. Or for a completely diary free option, an olive oil dressing with fresh sage would be lovely as well.
Because isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Making things your own, serving dishes and flavors you crave all year, and spending time with the ones you love. If these aren’t the things to be thankful for this season, I don’t know what is.
- ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 medium Kabocha or Butternut squash
- 2 small Delicata squash
- 1 tablespoon grass fed butter or ghee, melted
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 4 tablespoons grass fed butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Add pumpkin seeds and toast 8-10 minutes until fragrant and golden, then remove and set aside.
- Line 2 additional baking sheets with parchment or foil, and increase oven to 415 degrees. Peel squashes if desired (we do not), cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Cut each half into ½ - 1 inch rings and place on baking sheets. Lightly brush melted butter or ghee on each side of squash, and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake rings for 20-25 minutes until browned on the underside and tender. Set aside to cool.
- While squash is roasting, prepare brown butter. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Watch carefully, swirling the pan every so often. Once it begins to bubble and foam, add chopped sage. Remove from heat once brown bits form, and set aside to cool slightly.
- Place caramelized squash on a large serving platter and top with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with brown butter, season with additional salt and pepper as desired, and serve immediately.
You can bake the squash and toast the pumpkin seeds 1-2 days prior and store separately in the refrigerator. Reheat the squash before serving.
Purchase packaged pomegranate seeds to save on prep time.
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