Thanksgiving Salad is a delicious dish, with pearl couscous, roasted butternut squash, cranberries, pecans, spinach & red onion in a citrus dijon vinaigrette.
How I Came Up With This Salad’s Name
When I first made this delicious salad, my husband and I LOVED it! I knew I HAD to share the recipe on this blog, but really struggled to come up with a blog title for it. Pretty sure I didn’t want to call it a “Pearl Couscous Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, in a Citrus Vinaigrette”. That was more of a mouthful than a bite of this yummy salad! Hmmm.
Both my husband and I agreed that THIS beautiful salad would be absolutely PERFECT to serve for Thanksgiving! We both said it would be a perfect Thanksgiving salad. That is exactly how the easy to remember name “Thanksgiving Salad” came into existence!
The colors, ingredients, and flavors… everything about this salad screams Fall, and would wonderfully compliment any Thanksgiving feast. So… guess what? This salad will be served proudly at our family Thanksgiving dinner this year, along with all of our traditional dishes! By the way- this is an absolutely delicious salad that can be served all year long, as a side dish, or a main dish salad! Here’s how to make it:
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Roast The Butternut Squash
The first thing you will need to do is get the butternut squash roasted! The process is fairly simple. You can multi-task and get the prep work done on the other ingredients while the squash is roasting in the oven! Preheat your oven to 425° F.
Use a vegetable peeler, and peel the skin off the squash. Cut a thin slice off both ends of the squash. Next, slice the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Cut the butternut squash into bite-sized cubes, trying to get them all about the same size.
Put the squash cubes on a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the squash cubes out into a single layer, and then roast the squash at 425° F. for 20-25 minutes. Flip the squash over, half way through the roasting time.
Prepare Pearl Couscous And Toasted Pecans While Squash Bakes
While the butternut squash is roasting, prepare the pearl couscous. Follow package directions, omitting any butter if called for. The couscous will take between 8-10 minutes to finish cooking. When done, remove pan from the heat, and set couscous aside to cool down, for later.
You can also dry toast the pecans while the squash (and couscous) are cooking. Place the pecans in a dry skillet, and “toast” them over medium heat, stirring often. Toast the pecans for 3-5 minutes, and then remove pecans from the skillet. Set the toasted pecans aside to cool down, for later.
Once the butternut squash has finished roasting, remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the squash to a plate or bowl to cool. Set the squash aside to cool down, for later.
Make A Simple Vinaigrette For The Thanksgiving Salad
Making the citrus and dijon vinaigrette is so easy! Place orange juice, honey, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and garlic powder in a bowl. Season lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Whisk these salad dressing ingredients together until fully blended. The dressing goes PERFECTLY with this salad, and adds another layer of flavor! TIP: You can also mix the dressing up in a canning jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake the jar well, until the ingredients are fully mixed together.
Time To Create Your Thanksgiving Salad!
Okay… now the prep work is done and you are ready to build a delicious Thanksgiving salad! Gather all the ingredients together. You will have (clockwise) roasted squash, cooked couscous, dried cranberries, baby spinach, toasted pecans, thinly sliced red onions, and the citrus Dijon vinaigrette.
TIP FOR MAKING SALAD AHEAD OF TIME: If you wish to make the salad several hours BEFORE serving time, cover everything at this point with plastic wrap… and wait! All the work is now done, and you can EASILY put the salad together right before serving.
Time To Serve This Delicious Salad
Right before serving, place all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the Thanksgiving salad, and toss the salad well, to fully combine everything. Isn’t it beautiful with all the pretty Fall colors?
Once fully combined, arrange the salad on a pretty serving platter, or into a salad bowl for serving! (P.S. Only part of the salad is shown in the photo below). This is one pretty good looking Thanksgiving salad, right? YUM!
You’re gonna enjoy the sweet chewy cranberries, the crunchy pecans, the soft (and creamy) roasted butternut squash, and that pearl couscous, all covered in a flavor-filled citrus vinaigrette!
I really hope you enjoy this gorgeous and DELICIOUS Thanksgiving salad. Even though it has an unusual name, this pearl couscous salad can be prepared and enjoyed any time of the year.
The leftovers hold up really well, also. Place any leftovers in a well-sealed container, and the salad will keep for 2-3 more days! That’s a win-win, in my book! ENJOY, and have a GREAT day!
Looking For More SALAD Recipes?
You can find all of my salad recipes in the Recipe Index, located at the top of the page. A few favorites include:
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Original recipe source: https://littlespicejar.com/autumn-pearl-couscous-salad-with-roasted-butternut-squash/
Thanksgiving Salad is a delicious dish, w/ pearl couscous, roasted butternut squash, cranberries, pecans, spinach & red onion in a citrus vinaigrette.
- 1 butternut squash , peeled and cubed
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper, to lightly season squash
- 1½ cups dry pearl couscous , cooked according to pkg. directions
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves (heaping cups)
- ½ cup pecans , lightly toasted
- ½ cup red onion , thinly sliced
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 3 Tablespoons orange juice
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425° F. Use a vegetable peeler to peel squash. Cut a thin slice off both ends. Slice squash in half, lengthwise, and remove seeds. Cut squash into slices, then into bite-sized cubes, trying to keep them about the same size. Put the squash cubes on a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season lightly with salt/pepper. Spread squash out in a single layer; roast at 425° F. for 20-25 minutes. Flip squash over, half way through roasting . When squash is done, remove from oven; transfer squash to a plate or bowl to cool. Set aside.
Make Couscous: While squash cooks, prepare the pearl couscous. Follow package directions, omitting any butter (if called for). Couscous will take 8-10 minutes to cook. When done, remove pan from heat, and set couscous aside to cool.
Toast Pecans: Toast the pecans while squash (and couscous) are cooking. Place pecans in a dry skillet, and "toast" them over medium heat, stirring often. Toast for 3-5 minutes, and then remove pecans from skillet. Set pecans aside to cool.
Make Vinaigrette: Place orange juice, honey, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and garlic powder in a bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until fully blended.
Right before serving, place the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the salad, and toss the salad well, to fully combine everything. Serve, and enjoy! (Any leftovers can be stored for 2-3 days in covered container in refrigerator).
Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!