Great served warm or cold, this Autumn Couscous Salad is bursting with gorgeous fall goodies like butternut squash and dried cranberries.
Fall is OFFICIALLY in the air, y’all. I’m not sure how to feel about it this year; it seems like I’m fighting it this time around. Fall used to be my favorite season because it felt like a new beginning — school was starting, there was a thrilling chill in the air, and life was abuzz with the promise of exciting new things to come.
As an adult, though, my perspective is shifting.
Fall no longer feels like a new beginning for me, and I think that’s why I’ve been fighting it. I’m going to miss the exuberance of late evening walks in the waning summer sun, and hot afternoons spent floating down the river with friends. And I’m going to miss warm Saturday mornings in the colorful hustle and bustle of the farmers market.
Fortunately for me, there’s still time left to enjoy my favorite weekend destination. The tables are laden with squashes and dark, leafy greens now, a far cry from the cheerful tomatoes, peppers and corn cobs that filled them a few weeks ago. These things feel joyful in their own way, though, a reminder that cozy evenings and warm sweaters are headed down the chute.
So I’m learning to enjoy fall in a new way this year. I’m trying to embrace each season for what it is, and cooking is the single greatest tool I have to do just that.
This Autumn Couscous Salad is a colorful celebration of the season, studded with all the best of fall’s bounty.
The process to make it is so simple! Begin by roasting a few fall vegetables: butternut squash, fennel, and red onion. I like to cut my butternut squash into fairly small cubes to ensure optimal salad cohesion.
While the veggies are roasting, you’ll prepare some pearl couscous. Note that this is different from regular couscous; it’s larger and chewier. I wouldn’t recommend subbing regular couscous, as it will change the texture of this salad immensely. Pearl, or Israeli, couscous takes about 15 minutes to make on the stove, and it cooks up just like regular pasta.
Then, just slice up some kale (other dark leafy greens will sub in just fine), chop up some pecans, and shake up a simple orange-Dijon vinaigrette. Once the veggies and couscous are done, all that’s left to do is toss it together. It’s great warm or cold, so you can enjoy it for days afterward.
This salad is a colorful reminder that fall is beautiful, too. No matter your feelings on fall, I hope this recipe brings you joy like it does for me.
IF YOU MAKE THIS AUTUMN COUSCOUS SALAD, DON’T FORGET TO SNAP A PHOTO AND TAG ME IN IT ON INSTAGRAM @FEELINWHISKY! I LOVE SEEING WHAT YOU DO WITH MY RECIPES!Print
Autumn Couscous Salad
Great served warm or cold, this Autumn Couscous Salad is bursting with fall goodies like butternut squash and dried cranberries.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
For the salad:
- 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups dry pearl couscous
- 1 bunch kale, sliced into strips
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, from about 1 medium orange
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, from about 1/2 medium lemon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt + black pepper
- Roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400° F, then line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Place the butternut squash, fennel, and red onion on the baking sheet, then drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is fork tender.
- Cook the couscous: While the vegetables are roasting, cook the couscous according to package directions.
- Make the dressing: Shake up all the dressing ingredients in a jar for 30-60 seconds or until fully emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Assemble: In a large bowl, toss together the roasted vegetables, cooked couscous, sliced kale, cranberries, pecans, and dressing. Serve warm, or refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve cold.