This week for Oahu Fresh #quarantinecooking class, we’re making a couscous pilaf with butternut squash. Butternut squash is a hearty, beautiful vegetable to add to your diet, and its versatility makes it easy to love.
Couscous is a good pantry staple to have on hand: it’s not a whole grain (it’s made from semolina flour, like pasta), but the cool texture and simple prep (it doesn’t require cooking) means it’s ready in just a few minutes. Couscous can be a template for many different types of meals and flavors.
In this recipe we will combine sweet roasted squash with nuts and bright greens (kale and parsley) for a colorful, simple dish. This recipe is easy to make, great for sharing, and affordable, too! If you are gluten-free, you can substitute the couscous for cooked quinoa (be sure to follow package directions for cooking the quinoa as it’s different than the couscous).
Butternut Squash Couscous
To make the squash:
2 cups peeled, small-cubed butternut squash
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
Pinch of salt
To make the salad:
1½ cups water
1½ cups couscous (whole wheat or regular)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup minced, fresh kale (massaged)
½ cup fresh, chopped parsley
½ cup dry toasted, chopped pecans (or other nut)
¼ cup fresh minced red onion (optional)
1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional)
Olive oil and lemon for drizzle (optional)
- Watch the full video to see how to properly (and safely) peel and chop a butternut squash! [link coming soon!]
- Toss the chopped butternut squash with the olive oil, honey, and salt.
- Add to a baking sheet, and roast at 350ºF for 15 minutes, then stir. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until squash is soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
- To make the couscous, bring water to a boil.
- Add couscous, olive oil, salt and herbs to a large heat-proof bowl. Pour boiling water over the couscous, stir to combine, and let stand for five minutes (no need to cook!). Use a fork or spoon to break up any clumps of couscous.
- In another large bowl or colander, massage the kale until it’s bright green and wilted (see my Perfect Kale Salad recipe and video for more details on how to prep your kale perfectly). Add kale and all remaining ingredients to the couscous, along with the roasted squash. Toss to combine.
- Drizzle with a few Tablespoons of olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon just before serving; you can serve this with any other type of dressing too if you think it’s too simple. This salad can be served at room temperature or cold.
Yield: About 4 cups salad, or 2-4 servings