Fall Pasta Salad with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Apples
An easy pasta salad showcasing the flavors of fall, butternut squash, cranberries and apples. Great for meal prep and for large groups. The tangy homemade cranberry vinaigrette adds tons of flavor to this fall flavor combination.
Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and spread out onto a baking sheet tray. Place into a 400° F oven and cook for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when ready and rinse with cold water.
Make the dressing while the pasta and squash are cooking. Begin by soaking ¼ cup dried cranberries in hot water for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Drain the water when ready.
Place the cranberries in a blender and add the remaining dressing ingredients, except for the oil. Blend well then slowly add the olive oil to the blender while it is running. If dressing is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of warm water to thin out the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When squash is ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Combine the roasted squash, cooked pasta, red onion, cranberries and apple in a bowl and toss together with the dressing. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Top with toasted walnuts before serving.
Tips for BEST Results:Add the dressing to your butternut squash pasta salad just before serving. The pasta in the salad really soaks up dressing and I think it can get a little dry if it sits too long. If taking the salad to go or using it for meal prep, make the dressing but keep it stored separately until just before eating.Taking the time to roast the butternut squash really enhances the naturally sweet flavor of the squash. Other preparations with butternut squash may work but it really loses its depth of flavor.If you are looking for some meal prep shortcuts, consider using frozen butternut squash to save a bit of prep time. Frozen veggies are frozen at the peak of freshness meaning they maintain the flavor and nutrients of the fresh.