Easy to make, colorful and flavorful, this butternut squash wild rice salad would be perfect for a potluck, on a Holiday table or in your lunch box.
One of the things I love about this time of year is lots of roasted vegetables, particularly roots. One of our favorite meals in colder months is a roasted chicken with a range of roasted vegetables like carrots, squash (like maple roasted buttercup squash), beets and parsnips. That said, they can seem either a bit heavy or get same-y if you have them too often. This salad is a great way to enjoy the flavors in a bit of a lighter way.
The combination of soft, gently sweet butternut squash, nutty wild rice, crunchy fresh fennel and sweet dried cranberries works really well, especially rounded off with the light orange dressing. I’ve combined squash and wild rice before in my acorn squash wild rice salad, but this is a little lighter and has slightly sweeter flavors between the butternut squash, cranberries and orange dressing.
How it’s made
This salad might look like it has a few steps, but it’s easy to make and is a great salad for making the day ahead as well. You can easily roast the squash while you are cooking other things, and put the rice on to cook as well. Then let both cool, chop the fennel and put everything together. Since there’s nothing in there that wilts, it’s ideal for making ahead and taking either to a potluck or packing for lunch (and if you need more ideas, try some of these make ahead salads).
This butternut squash wild rice salad with cranberries and fennel is a delicious, light but filling taste of fall that has so many uses. Lots of great flavors and textures, it’s a healthy lunch or side you’ll love.
Butternut squash wild rice salad with cranberries and fennel
For the salad
- 10 oz butternut squash 285g, peeled and deseeded weight
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup wild rice 85g
- 3/4 cup fennel 90g, diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries 80g
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds 40g, pepitas
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 clove garlic
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Dice the squash approx 1in/2.5cm and toss with the oil in a roasting dish. Roast for approx 40 mins then allow to cool.
- As the squash is cooking, cook the wild rice according to packet instructions but on the less-done side (I found covered with 1 1/4 cups water, brought to boil and simmered approx 40 mins). Drain any excess water and allow to cool. Both the squash and rice can be cooked ahead and allowed to cool and kept refrigerated for a day or two before making up salad.
- Finely dice the fennel and add to the rice along with the squash, cranberries and sunflower seeds.
- Mix together the dressing ingredients (either whisk or shake in a small jar) and pour over the salad. Toss gently and serve or pack into containers to transport - works well taken for a potluck or in lunch box.
See all the other recipes being shared today as part of Cranberry week – follow #cranberryweek for all the tasty cranberry creations:
- Butternut Squash Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Fennel from Caroline’s Cooking (you’re here!)
- Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad Wraps from Family Around The Table
- Cranberry Cheeseball by The Freshman Cook
- Cranberry Cobbler from Cookaholic Wife
- Cranberry Gremolata from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Cranberry Orange Relish from Books n’ Cooks
- Jellied Cranberry Sauce from Palatable Pastime
- Orange Cranberry Sweet Rolls from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Pear Holly Cocktail from Bear & Bug Eats
- Roasted Green Beans with Cranberries from Making Miracles
- Slow Cooker Cranberry BBQ Chicken from Jonesin’ For Taste
- Slow Cooker Cranberry Pot Roast from Everyday Eileen
- White Cheddar and Cranberry Dip from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies from House of Nash Eats