This is the recipe for my butternut squash, cherry and pecan salad. I brought it with me to a Harvest Home celebration last weekend, and I remembered just how much I love it.
If you need exact measurements, then this is not a good recipe for you. I'm sorry about that.
Years ago, I worked at Whole Foods in California. They had a salad in the deli that I absolutely adored. It was my inspiration for this.
Large butternut squash
Maple syrup (Real, or don't bother.)
Cooking oil (olive, peanut, canola--something good.)
Peel the squash, then cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. (You can set those aside and roast them later.)
Cut the squash into cubes, toss with some decent cooking oil, and lay out the pieces on a baking sheet or 2.
Roast them in a 400 degree oven, until they're tender but not mushy. You want it to stay in cubes when you toss the salad. Start checking at 15 minutes, then every 5 minutes or so after that.
When the squash it cooked, leave it on the baking sheet to cool down, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add the dried cherries to the bowl. (I used a whole bag. I think it was about 5 ounces.)
Put the pecan pieces (I used about 2 hands full. Be generous--there are only 3 main ingredients.) into a skillet, then turn the stove on medium heat. Stir and toss the pecans until they start to smell nice and toasty. Be careful, because they can go from perfectly toasted to burned quickly. When they are nicely toasted, add them to the bowl.
Now for the dressing. No oil is needed, because the squash has some nice oil already. add some mustard, some maple syrup, and some lime juice to the bowl. Add some thyme, parsley, and poppy seeds, and just a bit of cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad, then cover and refrigerate for at least several hours. Overnight is better. This is definitely one of those foods that is much better the next day.
I didn't take any pictures, but it's a beautiful salad, in addition to being delicious. The colors are rich and harvesty.
I did take this picture of something I was working on this week, though.