Roasted Squash Salad with Spicy Pecans

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Festival Recipes


  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves
  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 package of spring salad mix
  • 3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, warm 2 Tbsp of honey over low heat. Add the cayenne and stir to mix well.  Add pecans and stir to coat.  Spread the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly then add the nuts to the bowl with the sugar mixture and toss to coat.  Discard the parchment paper and spread the pecans out in t single layer on the baking sheet to cool completely.
  4. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
  5. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Cut the flesh crosswise into slices 1 inch thick.  Pile the squash on the preaperd baking sheet.  Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, season with salt & pepper and toss to coat.  Spread the squash out in a single layer.  Roast, turning several times until fork-tender and lightly browned all over, about 25 minutes.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard and remaining 2 Tbsp honey.  Add the remaining 4 Tbsp. olive oil in a slow stead stream, whisking constantly until a smooth, emulsified dressing forms.  Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Put the salad in a large serving bowl.  Pour in dressing and toss to coat thoroughly.  Add squash, pecans, dates and toss to combine.  Serve


2012 Date Festival Recipe Contest - 1st Place Winner - Salad

Amanda McCormick, La Quinta, CA 

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