Pasta salads are one of our favorite things to eat in the summertime, but guess what? It doesn't have to be JUST a summer meal. This is my Fall-Inspired Pasta Salad with Butternut Squash, and it is going to feel like a warm hug.
Unlike normal pasta salads that are served cold, this is going to be served warm. It's such a wholesome dinner you can make if you're planning on having people over OR it can be a great idea for a fall-inspired meal prepped lunch. None of the ingredients will wilt/go bad, so it makes for a great week's worth of lunches.
The flavors in this pasta salad are truly unlike no other - you have fresh flavors from the red onion and parmigiano reggiano, seasonal ingredients like kale and butternut squash, and earthy flavors from the oregano, zaatar, and beans. Every bite is going to be better than the next and each ingredient truly compliments one another. The dressing is what really ties everything together, it's a oregano & zaatar dressing that adds a small Middle Eastern twist to this pasta salad - obviously my speciality.
It is going to look like a lot of work, but each ingredient just needs a bit of time to be prepped. Nothing to be overwhelmed about! Let's get to it.
Portion: 1 cup (bowl)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
This recipe is gluten free and vegetarian. This recipe can be easily made vegan without the Parmesan.
1 box tri-colored pasta
¼ butternut squash, cubed
1 can canellini beans, drained & rinsed
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 cups shredded and finely chopped kale
1/4 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps zaatar
1 tsp dried oregano
Optional addition: I was going to add heart of palm to this recipe because I think it would pair so well with the other flavors, so if you do have some, I recommend slicing 2 stems into small rounds.
1.Cook the pasta: boil a pot of water on the stovetop on high heat. Salt the water. Once the water starts to boil, add in the pasta. Cook al dente and strain.
2. Prep the squash: Preheat the oven to 400.Peel the squash and cube. Add butternut squash to a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle on olive oil and salt to taste. Mix well with your hands. Bake for 15 minutes, flip them, and then allow them to bake for another 5 minutes. They should be toasty and soft.
3. Prep the rest: Ensure the kale is finely chopped. Massage kale in a bowl with less than ½ tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Massage until crunch is gone. Set aside. Prep the onion and set aside. Have the parmigiano shredded and beans rinsed. Set aside.
4. Prep the dressing: in a small bowl, mix in olive oil, salt, zaatar, and oregano. Mix well until you achieve an even consistency.
5. Put it all together: add the pasta, kale, beans, red onion, parmigiano, and butternut squash into one large mixing bowl. Pour in the dressing. Mix well and add to a serving dish. Enjoy!