If you’re looking for a show stopping salad this season, my Hasselback Honeynut Squash Salad is it! It’s beautiful and surprisingly simple to make!
I’ve become obsessed with “hasselbacking” things this past month. I made hasselback butternut squash for the first time and I absolutely loved it. And I thought to myself “I wish I could turn this into a salad, but who can eat an entire half of a butternut squash?”. Then the light bulb went off and I remembered honeynut squash! Which look and taste just like a butternut squash, but are 1/4-1/3 of the size. Which makes a half a honeynut squash the perfect single serving size. And thus, this salad was born!
Don’t be intimidated by the look of this salad. A few tips and tricks make slicing the honeynut squash way easier than you might initially think. First, you’re going to pre-roast the honeynut squash for 10 minutes. This softens it just enough so you don’t have to work so hard to get your knife through. And second, you’re going to make a “bumper” with two butter knives to stop your knife from going all the way through to the bottom. Because you want the slices the stay attached to one another. BUT if you do accidentally slice all the way through in a few places, no worries! It happened to me in a few places and you can hardly even tell!
Because the hasselback honeynut squash is the star of this dish, I kept the other ingredients super simple. Your favorite mixed salad greens, pear slices (you could use apple instead), goat cheese crumbles and a few extra pecans are all you need!
I originally intended this Hasselback Honeynut Squash Salad to be a side dish/side salad. But now I’m thinking it would also be a wonderful main dish/main salad if you’ve got a vegetarian coming to any of your Holiday gatherings. For a side dish, you’ll want to use one honeynut squash half per plate, as shown in the photographs. For a main dish, I’d recommend using two honeynut squash halves (i.e. a whole honeynut squash) per plate, as well as increasing the other ingredients per serving.
For the Balsamic Rosemary Dressing:
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
For the Hasselback Honeynut Squash:
- 4 honeynut squash
- About 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
To Finish the Salad:
- 14-16 cups mixed salad greens
- 2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
- About 1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles
- About 1/4 cup pecans
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Slice off and discard any woody stems on the honeynut squash. Then slice each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and pulp. Then peel off and discard the skin. Place the squash cut-side down on your prepared baking sheet. Brush the squash with the olive oil and season with the salt and black pepper. Transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven and roast the squash for 10 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet from your oven and set aside to cool until the squash are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
- Working with one squash half at a time, use a spatula to remove the squash from the baking sheet and place it on a cutting board. Place a butter knife on each side of the squash (this is to prevent your knife from going all the way through). Then using a sharp knife, make thin slices along the length of the squash. Use the spatula to transfer the squash back to the baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining squash halves.
- Once you have finished slicing all the squash, melt the butter in a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in the maple syrup, rosemary, cinnamon and pecans. Then spoon this mixture over the top of the squash. Return the baking sheet to your oven and roast the squash for 15-20 minutes more, or until fork tender. Remove the baking sheet from your oven and set aside to cool.
- Add the salad greens to a large bowl. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss to coat. Then divide the salad greens between plates. Top with the honeynut squash, pear slices, goat cheese and pecans. Drizzle additional dressing over the finished salad, if desired. Enjoy immediately.
- If I’m going to be serving these as a side salad, I use one honeynut squash half per salad, as shown in the photographs (so you can make 8 from this recipe). If I’m going to be serving these as a main salad, I use one whole honeynut squash per salad (so you can make 4 from this recipe). And I scale the other ingredients up/down as required for each portion.
Recipe inspired by How Sweet Eats.