The autumn garden provides an abundant harvest of winter squash, and although there are many ways of preparing this vegetable in hot dishes, it can also be used as a salad or room-temperature side dish. We grew Honey Nut squash this year from Renee’s seeds, and it was a total success. I was interested in this variety because the squash and the plants are a bit smaller and the vines are mildew resistant. Since I’m frequently cooking meals for two or four people, we don’t need such large amounts. We grew our plants on a short trellis and they bore many small butternut squash.

Here’s how I prepared our squash last weekend:

Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds and membranes with a spoon. Cut the squash into bite sized pieces.

Toss the squash with a tablespoon or two of real maple syrup. Place the maple-coated pieces on a baking parchment lined cookie sheet and roast them at 375 degrees until they are just barely soft. In my oven it took about 20 minutes. Poke the pieces with a fork and remove them immediately when the fork easily goes into the squash. You don’t want to overcook the pieces.

Cool the squash to room temperature. Add bite-sized pieces of fresh fruit of your choice. I used fresh figs from our fig tree, but you could also use pears, apples or grapes.

Toast the nuts of your choice – I used pecans.

For three cups of cooked squash I used the following amount of dressing:

1/4 cup Walnut oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup with salt and pepper to taste.

Winter squash combined with a fall fruit and nuts...toss with a walnut oil balsamic, and maple syrup vinaigrette dressing.

Winter squash combined with a fall fruit and nuts…toss with a walnut oil balsamic, and maple syrup vinaigrette dressing. I used fresh figs and pecans in this dish. What a great way to celebrate the autumnal garden!

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