If you're like me, you'll have someone show up at Thanksgiving that doesn't eat meat. Of course you can offer them just a few sides, but that's usually not enough. Well, I have a solution for you. It's my Haystack Butternut Squash Salad Bowl. It has it all...squash, quinoa (or you could do farro or something similar), salad and even dessert on top. This butternut squash salad bowl is a perfect meal for those Thanksgiving guests that are vegetarian and they are also great if you are looking to have a unique salad platter this year. Simply add mixed greens to the bottom of a salad platter, then arrange a few of these butternut squash bowls on top. They are easy to share and scoop out as well, because the squash is cross-hatched after cooking and before serving so the squash easily comes out of the shell. And the crunchy haystacks are the perfect topping for this salad bowl. Happy Thanksgiving!
Haystack Butternut Squash Salad Bowl
For the squash-
1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and de-seeded
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
For the balsamic reduction-
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Maple Dijon Vinaigrette-
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup oil (olive, avocado, your favorite oil for dressings)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup mixed greens
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cooked red quinoa (cook with vegetable or chicken broth and add some salt, cumin,garlic powder and nutmeg in the broth before it is absorbed and it will flavor the quinoa)
1/2 cup butterscotch morsels
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup chow mein noodles
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place butternut squash halves on a baking sheet, flesh side up. Spread oil or butter over squash flesh and then sprinkle on some salt, pepper and brown sugar. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until fork tender.
Scoop out some of the butternut squash flesh to make a well from top to bottom and set aside (approximately 1-2 tablespoons from each half). Mash the scooped out squash with a fork and set aside (this will be used in the balsamic reduction). Cross-hatch the remainder of the squash halves.
In a small saucepan, add balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and mashed squash. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until balsamic mixture is reduced by half. Set aside.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
In a small bowl, add butterscotch morsels and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until softened. Add peanut butter and stir until thoroughly combined. Add chow mein noodles to mixture and gently fold together. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper until cool and set.
To assemble, evenly distribute the mixed greens and tomatoes in each squash half. Followed by the quinoa, then drizzle on some balsamic reduction and some vinaigrette. Add some haystacks to the tops and serve. Enjoy!