Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Avocado-Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Colorful, seasonal fare to boost your health!

By Erin O'Brien

 

Have you heard that “eating from the rainbow” supports optimal health? Well, this recipe is as colorful as it gets! Fall is here... and we can already see the leaves beginning to turn as the incredible deciduous trees begin to put on their annual artful display. And seasonal foods also begin to transition into an explosion of Fall colors— the oranges of Winter squash (harvested throughout the Fall and stored in the winter), the reds of bell peppers, and the yellows of fresh corn on the cob.

 

Bright and delicious… and packed with incredible nutrition… this salad will not disappoint! The orange color in the butternut squash is indicative of vitamin A, which is essential for the health of your eyes and skin. This nutrient-dense superfood contains more potassium than a banana, supporting cell and tissue regeneration in the body. The bell pepper is full of vitamin-c and antioxidants, boosting your overall immunity. And fresh corn offers phytochemicals that support healthy vision, as well as fiber to cleanse the system.

 

The avocado and olive oil provide a lovely dose of healthy fats to help your body absorb all of these amazing vitamins and support your skin’s radiant glow. And don’t let the word “fat” mislead you! Avocado has been known to support weight-management.

 

That’s not all! The lime and cilantro also boost your immune system. The lime alkalizes the body, while the cilantro balances blood-sugar levels and contains strong cancer-fighting antioxidants. Complete the rainbow by topping the salad with some blue borage flowers and purple nasturtiums.

 

Roasted butternut squash salad with cilantro-avocado-lime dressing is a perfect seasonal dish to prepare on Sunday to supplement lunches and dinners… or add quinoa or beans and turn this salad into a meal!

 

Bon appetit!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 bunch cilantro 
  • 3-4 limes
  • 1 avocado
  • olive oil
  • water to thin dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: beans, quinoa, edible flowers

 

Directions:

 

Step One: For the Butternut:

  1. Peel the butternut squash whole. Then slice it in half  and scoop the seeds out. Chop the squash into even, bite-sized cubes.
  2. Toss cubed squash with olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet and roast squash in the oven at 375* for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the squash to the other side with a spatula and roast for another 10-20 minutes, until cooked through— soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.
  5. Set aside to cool.

 

Step Two: For the Red Pepper, Corn, and Cilantro:

  1. Shuck the corn, remove all of the tassels, and slice the kernels off of the cob.
  2. Core the pepper and slice into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Coarsely chop ½ cup cilantro leaves.
  4. Place the red pepper, corn, butternut squash (room temp), and cilantro into a large salad bowl and toss with salt and pepper (to taste).

 

Step Three: For the Dressing:

  1. Squeeze the juice of 3-4 limes into a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup cilantro (with stems). Add the meat of 1 avocado and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss in a pinch salt and pepper to taste. Blend. Add water to thin the dressing to a desirable consistency.

 

Step 4: Portion out salad and drizzle dressing over each bowl. Top with a sprig of cilantro or parsley and edible flowers (nasturtium, borage, calendula).

 

Variation: Add quinoa or beans and turn this salad into a meal!

 

*Article originally published at http://www.fivepillarsyoga.com/