This delicious, 21 Day Fix Pear and Butternut Squash Salad is loaded with fall flavor and would be absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving!
Can a salad taste like a treat and be the thing in your day that you look forward to with ridiculous anticipation? Can it be beautiful and special and extraordinary? Do you feel as though I may be overselling a salad? Well, I'll let you be the judge of that, but I really don't think so. Seriously, I've eaten this salad every day for lunch for the last week and I see no end in sight. Which just isn't like me. This girl likes variety, diversity, change! I like to switch it up. Plus I really, really like goat cheese. I may have previously mentioned that here, here, here and/or here.
So here's my question: Does your family serve a salad on T-Day? My family does, but it's always just the standard fare: iceberg, tomatoes, cucumbers and croutons with a selection of dressings. We put so much thought into all of the beautiful side dishes that the salad gets overlooked. Every. Single. Year. But, no more! As you may know from my "Thanksgiving: 21 Day Fix Style" post, I've been hard at work thinking up tasty new Turkey Day recipes that you can serve up to your family without the side of guilt that would normally accompany them. Anyway, I knew that I wanted to make a salad worthy of a Thanksgiving table. I'm telling you, this is it. Plus it's SUPER easy. The only thing that really takes any time at all is roasting the butternut squash and even that can easily be done in advance (I would say up to two days). In fact, I think it's best to do it in advance because you'll want everything to be nice and cold for serving on the big day.
This is just one of those salads with a winning combination of ingredients. Hearty spinach, roasted butternut squash, sweet pears, pecans, tangy goat cheese, and your new favorite vinaigrette. That Maple-Balsamic vinaigrette is the best thing since wifi. No joke. In fact, it inspired this whole salad. I had a recipe for a Maple-Balsamic Dressing from Betty Crocker, but the original was SO sweet that it just didn't really work for me. So I tweaked it a bit and now it makes me so darn happy that I do a mental happy dance every time it comes to mind. After I perfected the dressing, I thought about some ingredients that would make it shine, tested it out (many, many times - I had to make sure it was good, ok? You know, for you.) and here we are 🙂
I made this recipe one serving so that it would be Fix-ready for days that aren't Thanksgiving. (Speaking of which, if you want to add some protein here, chicken is SO good in this!) However, this would be super easy to multiply to feed a crowd. The roasted squash and the dressing already make more than you'll need (though I would probably make plenty of extra dressing, you know how Aunt Edna likes to pour it on). Anyway, plenty of spinach, sliced pears, some goat cheese and pecans and you're good to go!
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I hope you give this one a try this Thanksgiving and that your family likes it as much as mine does!
If you make this Pear and Butternut Squash Salad recipe be sure to snap a pic and tag me @thefoodieandthefix on Instagram so I can check it out! It makes me ridiculously happy to see what you guys are making 🙂
Roasted Butternut Squash:
- 1 medium squash, peeled and cubed
- olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray
- salt, black pepper and cinnamon, for seasoning
Maple -Balsamic Vinaigrette (multiple servings):
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- black pepper
- 1 cup baby spinach, packed
- ½ of a pear, thinly sliced
- ½ cup roasted butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 ½ Tbs goat cheese, crumbled
- 5 pecan halves, whole or chopped, however you like!
Roast the squash:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, place your squash cubes on it and then lightly spray them as well. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then as much black pepper and cinnamon as you like. Toss to evenly coat with seasonings. Roast for about 25 minutes or until soft and cooked through, giving them a good stir every now and then.
Make the dressing:
- Whisk together all ingredients and set aside. Refrigerate any leftovers - I just put the extra dressing in a jar so that when I want to use it I can pull it out of the fridge a few minutes beforehand (so the oil will melt) and then give it a good shake!
Make the salad:
- Toss the spinach, squash and pear slices in a bowl. Sprinkle with the pecans, sage, goat cheese and Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette. Yum!
21 Day Fix Container Counts per Serving: 1 ½ Green, ½ Purple, 1 Blue, 1 Orange
Weight Watchers Freestyle Points: 11
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 salad with 2 Tbs of dressing
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312Total Fat: 20g