Full of fall colors and flavors, this Radicchio & Roasted Squash Salad is a hearty addition to your Thanksgiving dinner menu that won’t take up valuable oven space! Easily prep the ingredients ahead of time and toss together before serving for a simple and elegant holiday salad. This post is sponsored by OXO.
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We need more make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes. More recipes you can prep in the days before Thanksgiving. More recipes you can easily make, and then bring to dinner without worrying if there will be fridge or oven space. More recipes that are colorful and exciting while still being relatively easy to prepare. More recipes like this one! And more cookbooks like the one I was lucky enough to cook from last week (and more weeks to come!).
I’ve never personally hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s not something I particularly want to do. As a younger human, I didn’t fully appreciate the art of preparing a Thanksgiving Dinner (to my aunt who always hosts – you are a rockstar). I love cooking of course, so it’s not that. It’s the timing. Making sure everything is done at the same time is HARD, and gets continually harder the more dishes you add to the mix.
Solution? Plan, and prep ahead. Add dishes that can be served at room temperature. Oh, and instructions for that would be nice too. Enter my new favorite cookbook…
Now & Again by Julia Turshen
This cookbook (full name: Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers (affiliate link!)) entered my life a couple weeks ago, and I had no idea I needed it. Let me tell you, I’ve never read a cookbook formatted in this way before. It’s simply brilliant.
It’s not just recipes. It’s so much more. Julia has crafted menus for all occasions, each with unique and extraordinary recipes I never could have dreamed up myself. The menus are complete with make-ahead tips and instructions (OMG!), new and exciting ways to turn leftovers into totally new meals, and Julia’s personal narrative which turns every menu into a real story you can identify with.
Of course a cookbook full of perfect menus wouldn’t be complete without a section for Thanksgiving Dinner! In her book, Julia has created a “No Stress Thanksgiving” menu that’s perfect for all of my Thanksgiving hosts who like to prep and plan ahead.
Here’s what the menu includes:
Roast Turkey Breast + Onions with Mustard & Sage
Apple Cider Gravy
Sheet Pan Bread Stuffing with Sausage & Spinach
Radicchio + Roasted Squash Salad
String Beans with Toasted Almonds + Lemon
Maple Roasted Apples with Vanilla Ice Cream + Roasted Pecans
Easy Pumpkin + Olive Oil Cake
As if that wasn’t enough Thanksgiving Day Dinner assistance, Julia has laid out everything that can be done ahead of time for this menu, from Monday (3 days ahead) to Thursday (day of) and everything in between. Honestly, if I was hosting Thanksgiving, I would probably cook everything on this menu. She makes it sound that easy!
Radicchio + Roasted Squash Salad
This Radicchio + Roasted Squash Salad is a hearty side dish that has prep ahead options, crazy sandwich leftover abilities, and all the goods things about Fall. I mean, do you see those colors?! I chose to share this squash salad from the Stress Free Thanksgiving Day menu with you for a few reasons, and here they are:
- Prep ahead potential: Every component of this salad can be made ahead, and in fact probably should be, if you’re planning to serve it for Thanksgiving.
- Simple to make: This recipe is simple to make, and really the most time consuming part is peeling and cutting up the squash (which you should prep ahead of time!).
- Reinvented leftovers: I was particularly struck by the reinvented leftovers idea Julia shared for this dish – something I never would have thought of! Keep scrolling to find out more!
- Salad recipes: There are lots of obvious Thanksgiving dishes (turkey, stuffing, pie, etc), but we need more simple recipes to fill in the gaps. Like this one!
- It’s gorgeous: This salad is just so pretty, and I’ve never really made anything like it before. So that’s just a selfish reason, but still a reason!
- Unique, but classy: I’ve never seen a salad like this at Thanksgiving dinner. But at the same time, it’s just a couple veggies classed up with a perfect dressing!
- Easy ingredients: The recipe calls for butternut squash, but you can use any delicata squash or even sweet potatoes (easy!), and I was able to find radicchio at my local high end grocery store.
This recipe serves a crowwwwwd but I believe it could easily be halved if you have a smaller Thanksgiving day headcount. Here are more details on the ingredients I used:
Butternut squash – I used the largest butternut squash I could find, but Julia notes that you can also use delicata squash or even sweet potatoes. I peeled, seeded and then cut the squash into 1 inch cubes for roasting.
Radicchio – I’ve never actually had radicchio before I made this recipe! It’s on the bitter/spicier end of the spectrum, sort of like spicy arugula or something like that. I used two large heads of radicchio for this recipe. I would not eat it plain, but paired with squash and all dressed up with more Fall flavors, it’s wonderful.
The dressing – This salad has an easy, olive oil based dressing which is tossed on right before serving. Honey for a touch of sweet, Dijon mustard for full flavor, with garlic, fresh ground black pepper and more. In my opinion, the dressing is what ties it all together.
Tools I used to make this recipe:
I’ve used OXO products in my kitchen for years, and I would of course trust their tools to stand up to the stressors of holiday cooking. It’s the most important dinner of the year – family and friends come together from near and far to give thanks and spend time together. From baking the perfect pie to setting the kids table, OXO has tips and tools to honor traditions, create new ones, and celebrate the spirit of the holiday all month long. Dip deep enough into my blog and you’ll learn that my favorite OXO tool is the OXO apple slicer (affiliate link!). You will literally never see me cut an apple without it!
For the Radicchio + Roasted Squash Salad, I used a few new OXO tools that I’m already loving. Here are the details (with affiliate links):
- Mini Angled Measuring Cup: OXO‘s patented angled measuring cup lets you measure accurately from above! I own tons of these, but this is quite possibly the cutest one ever. I used this for liquid ingredients requiring anywhere from 1-4 tablespoons (1/4 cup). Way more accurate than using a spoon measurer for these amounts of liquid.
- Chef’s Squeeze Bottles: I used this tool to measure and evenly distribute oil while cooking this recipe. These bottles are easy to use with a sealing cap that actually seals!
- Swivel Peeler: Swivel Peeler easily peels tough-skinned fruits and vegetables, and the soft, oversized handle is designed for repetitive strokes, which you definitely have to do for peeling butternut squash. The blade came with a cover, which means it’s NOT messing around. It works better than the peeler I was previously using!
You might also find OXO’s Greensaver Herb Keeper useful for storing your holiday herbs, as well as OXO’s On-the-Go Lunch Container which would work perfectly for transporting those Thanksgiving leftovers.
Prep Ahead Instructions for the Roasted Squash Salad
Now & Again includes prep ahead instructions for every single menu, and very detailed instructions for the Stress Free Thanksgiving menu. Here I’ll share the instructions specifically noted for this squash salad, as Julia describes in her book.
- Tuesday (2 days ahead): …shred the radicchio for the salad (put into a plastic bag with an ever-so-damp paper towel), roast the squash for the salad, make the salad dressing, and store all of these in the refrigerator…
- Wednesday (1 day ahead): You could assemble the salad if you want or wait until tomorrow.
- Thursday (day of): …assemble the salad, if you haven’t already.
Julia also describes how and when she prepares the salad in the recipe introduction. She explains, “In fact, you can mix the whole thing up to a day before, refrigerate it, and then bring it to room temperature before serving.”
Reinvented Leftovers: Roasted Squash Salad Grilled Cheese
My favorite part of this cookbook is the reinvented leftover sections at the end of every menu. People always complain about eating the same thing over and over again. So why not change it?! Fool your brain into thinking it’s completely different by… making it completely different! I now recognize Julia Turshen as the master of this art.
Here’s Julia’s description about how to reinvent the Roasted Squash Salad into awesome leftovers:
SQUASH GRILLED CHEESE
Make delicious vegetarian sandwiches by spreading mayonnaise on both sides of two slices of bread, top with your favorite melting cheese (such as Cheddar or Muenster), and add a large handful of leftover radicchio and squash salad. Close the sandwich and cook in a skillet until browned on both sides and the cheese is melted, about 1 1/2 minutes per side (the mayonnaise will help the exterior brown). Serve with mustard and pickles.
I knew Julia was legit when I got to the part about using mayo for the grilled cheese. This is an expert level grilled sandwich tip, and I trusted Julia from that moment on! I honestly might even buy her other cookbooks, also because I have cookbook obsession.
More side dish ideas from Project Meal Plan:
- Make-Ahead Quinoa Party Salad
- Sean’s Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Make-Ahead Lemon Poppyseed Couscous Arugula Salad
Did you make this? I want to see how it turned out! Tag me in your social media post @projectmealplan and use #projectmealplan when you share!
Radicchio & Roasted Squash Salad
Full of fall colors and flavors, this Radicchio & Roasted Squash Salad is a hearty addition to your Thanksgiving dinner menu that won’t take up valuable oven space! Easily prep the ingredients ahead of time and toss together before serving for a simple and elegant holiday salad for a crowd.
- 3 pound [1.3 kg] butternut squash, tough skin peeled and ends trimmed and discarded, seeded, and cut into 1-inch [2.5 cm] pieces
- 3/4 cup [180 ml] olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup [60 ml] apple cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 heads radicchio, each about 1/2 pound [230g], cored and thinly sliced
- Position one rack in the center of your oven and a second rack in the top third and preheat to 400F [200C]. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Divide the squash evenly between the prepared pans, then drizzle each pan with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss everything.
- Roast the squash, stirring once or twice along the way and switching the pans between the racks and rotating them back to front halfway through the roasting, until softened and browned, about 30 minutes. Set the squash aside to cool down a bit.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, vinegar and garlic. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup [120 ml] olive oil to make a dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the reserved squash and the radicchio to the bowl and use your hands to combine everything gently (messy, but fun).
- Transfer the salad to a serving platter and serve immediately (or within a few hours; it holds well at room temperature).
Make-Ahead Instructions: Up to 2 days ahead: Shred the radicchio for the salad (put into a plastic bag with an ever-so-damp paper towel), roast the squash for the salad, make the salad dressing, and store all of these in the refrigerator. You can mix the salad together up to a day before, refrigerate it, and then bring it to room temperature before serving.
Reinvented Leftovers: SQUASH GRILLED CHEESE – Make delicious vegetarian sandwiches by spreading mayonnaise on both sides of two slices of bread, top with your favorite melting cheese (such as Cheddar or Muenster), and add a large handful of leftover radicchio and squash salad. Close the sandwich and cook in a skillet until browned on both sides and the cheese is melted, about 1 1/2 minutes per side (the mayonnaise will help the exterior brown). Serve with mustard and pickles.
Recipe written by Julia Turshen; reproduced and reprinted with permission from Now & Again; Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers. Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal.
- Serving Size: about 1 cup
- Calories: 182
- Sugar: 4g
- Fat: 14g
- Carbohydrates: 16g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 1g
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