Friday, November 15, 2013

A Very Blueberry Thanksgiving: Blueberry butternut squash salad

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A colorful autumn salad for your Thanksgiving table (photo: Karen Ard)

Last weekend I hosted a group of food bloggers for A Very Blueberry Thanksgiving, a pre-holiday celebration sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and Wines from Rioja. I made a huge traditional Thanksgiving feast with one big twist: Every dish on this Thanksgiving menu included fresh, frozen, or dried blueberries.

If you've only thought about blueberries as dessert, it's time to consider their savory side. I particularly love the combination of blueberries with balsamic vinegar, as in this autumn salad. I layered roasted cubes of butternut squash, caramelized red onions, toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh blueberries, and crisp green lettuce in a large bowl, then poured over a thick vinaigrette made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dried blueberries.

Turkey, schmurkey: Say it's because we're Californians, but this salad was one of the bloggers' favorite dishes at our Thanksgiving celebration.

Here's some good news: Fresh blueberries are getting easier to find in the fall and winter due to thousands of acres of cultivated blueberries recently planted in Chile, Argentina and Mexico. The blueberries we had at A Very Blueberry Thanksgiving were plump, juicy, and sweet. Look for fresh blueberries from the southern hemisphere to add to your Thanksgiving menu - you'll be glad you did.

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Blueberry Butternut Squash Salad
A layered green salad with roasted butternut squash, caramelized red onions, fresh blueberries, and toasted pumpkin seeds with a blueberry balsamic vinaigrette. Serve this colorful, healthy salad at Thanksgiving for a twist on tradition.
  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 large butternut squash
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large head green leaf lettuce, washed, torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
First, make the blueberry balsamic vinaigrette. (This step can be done several days ahead.) Put the dried blueberries and balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer about 30 minutes, until the vinegar is reduced by about a third and the blueberries are plump and rehydrated. Let the mixture cool a bit, then put it in a blender with 1 cup of olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Blend until very smooth. If working ahead, store in the refrigerator until you begin the rest of the steps below.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler and cut the flesh into 1-inch chunks. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Put the vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast in the oven until brown around the edges and very tender, 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to just warm.Make a bed of lettuce in a serving bowl or on a large serving platter. Mound the squash and onions in the middle. Sprinkle the blueberries and pumpkin seeds on top. Drizzle the entire salad generously with the blueberry balsamic vinaigrette in a zig-zag pattern. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 10-12 servings

1 comment:

Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious said...

Wow, does that look and sound good! This makes me regret even more that I missed the feast!

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