Home ยป Tropical Butternut Squash Salad

Tropical Butternut Squash Salad

Before you even think to suggest butternut squash as winter produce, think again. I will hear nothing of it. Butternut squash is available year-round and tastes great, even when “out of season”. It’s also always relatively cheap.

Like other orange veggies, butternut squash is loaded with Vitamin A. It is also generous in Vitamins C and E. Together, Vitamins A, C, and E (“ACE!”, as I teach my students) combine for optimal vitamin antioxidant properties. Love butternut squash 😀

If you love coconut and tropical pina colada-like flavors, you’re in for a treat. I mean, you could add a cocktail umbrella to this dish and call it a day. Tropical flavors at their finest…

While I would never think to combine the below ingredients, I’m very glad that food pioneers like Cara have done the guess work for me (and you!) and created such fun recipes to try.


Tropical Butternut Squash Salad from Cara’s Cravings

2 lbs (about 1 large) peeled, diced butternut squash
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup scallions (white and light green parts), sliced
20 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained, juice reserved
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened flaked coconut

4 oz nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
juice from 1 lime
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup chopped cilantro


Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the squash in an even layer. Spray the squash with more cooking spray. Roast for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, place the coconut in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, and cook for about 5 minute, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant. Immediately remove from heat and allow to cool.

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the yogurt, pineapple juice, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour over the squash mixture in the large bowl and gently stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in the cilantro, and chill until ready to serve. Yield: 10 servings (about 2/3 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 130 calories; 2.9 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 136 mg. sodium; 25.9 g. carbohydrate; 4.2 g. fiber; 3.1 g. protein

Result: What a breath of fresh air…and flavors! Squash lovers, this you will love! This is a simple salad that can substitute in for any mayonnaise-slathered potato or pasta side dish. As the cookout season continues, give this dish strong consideration for something lighter, fun, and delish! Enjoy!


I took last night off from working out. I probably shouldn’t have considering today is a 14-hour day, but…oh well. It would’ve made 4 consecutive workouts, so I won’t beat myself up over it. No dinner planned for tonight so there is time to allot to working out….I just have to be sure that actually happens 😉 Tonight is our last “Lighten-Up” weight management support group and words cannot express how much I will miss this group. What a fabulous, inspiring, and ambitious group of women! Have I mentioned lately how much I love being a dietitian? :)…’Cause I do!

Question: What’s your favorite cookout side dish?

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Gina (The Candid RD)
    July 19, 2011 / 6:35 am

    Yikes, I thought mt 12-hour day was a long one today!! You beat me. Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚
    THis recipe is right up my alley (and Nick’s). We are actually growing a couple gorgeous butternut squash right now, so I’ll have to save this recipe.

    My favorite cookout side dish is baked beans. HAnds down. With extra Beano.

  2. Joanne
    July 19, 2011 / 7:13 am

    I have been DYING to make this ever since Cara posted it! Fab-o-lous! Thanks for the reminder. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Don’t beat yourself up over taking a day off. it does a body good!

  3. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    July 19, 2011 / 7:19 am

    Except for the fact that it often affects sale prices, I rarely make too much of a fuss about seasonal foods…

    My favorite cookout dish is often a casserole or pasta salad of sorts… or the BBQ meat (VERY important!)

  4. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self
    July 19, 2011 / 8:36 am

    I also saw this on Cara’s blog but have yet to make it – it looks and sounds so delicious!

  5. Jessie
    July 19, 2011 / 9:31 am

    I love hearing how you love being an RD ๐Ÿ™‚ 14 hour day, though – yikes! I hope you’ll get at least a little downtime today!

    I’m with you on enjoying winter squash during the summer. I love a nice butternut squash soup, or some yam fries for a root vegetable kick. I’ve never tried butternut squash in a salad, though – this looks great!

    Have a fab week, Nicole!

    • Nicole
      July 19, 2011 / 2:50 pm

      Cara, that looks awesome! Thanks for the link ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    July 19, 2011 / 11:13 am

    That looks AWESOME! My favorite cookout side dish is pasta salad. Yum!

  7. Leah @ Why Deprive?
    July 19, 2011 / 11:23 am

    This looks SO good!! Of course, I was sold as soon as I saw both coconut AND cilantro. That pretty much sounds like heaven.

    My favorite side dish is broccoli salad. My Grandma makes it every year when we have our summer bbq, and this year she even made a separate one for me without mushrooms. She’s the best. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nicole
      July 19, 2011 / 2:50 pm

      Me too! Love’em both…looots!

  8. Kristen (swanky dietitian)
    July 19, 2011 / 1:18 pm

    Wow, 14 hour day! I don’t know how you do it. 10 hour days are hard enough.
    This dish looks amazing. Love the ACE acronym. Great thinking! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nicole
      July 19, 2011 / 2:49 pm

      If it weren’t for all the commuting!! Grr…hate wasting time and money driving all around!

  9. thehealthyapron
    July 19, 2011 / 1:40 pm

    ooooooooooo love that you brought squash in to the summer months! Love it!! I will have to try this recipe for sure!

    I also need motivation to work out tonight! If you do it…I’ll do it! haha

    • Nicole
      July 19, 2011 / 2:49 pm

      I’m already talking myself out of it…I’m pooped!! Not giving up completely yet ๐Ÿ˜‰ I may get a second wind here…hope you do, too!

  10. Cara
    July 19, 2011 / 1:47 pm

    So glad you liked this! As for workouts, I’ve been down since I got back from vacation. I started up and got sore, fast. Than had a little injury creep up. And I’m tired. It really sucks. It’s a constant mental battle between telling myself that I need to rest so I can heal and get my energy back, vs thinking I’m going to gain a few lbs or lose some strength. But really in the grand scheme of things, won’t I lose those few lbs again and lift the same, even more in the future? Still, I know how you feel. Right there with ya.

    • Nicole
      July 19, 2011 / 2:48 pm

      Getting the workout groove back after vacation was BRUTAL. It’s not back…I just did it.

  11. Maeghan
    July 19, 2011 / 1:56 pm

    This is such a great idea! My 15 month old daughter loves squash, always has so far, so we always have it in the house. I’d like to get my husband to eat more and I think this may be the way! Thank you!

  12. Mari
    July 19, 2011 / 2:17 pm

    WOW I want that salad for din din…can you come over and make it for me lol

    • Nicole
      July 19, 2011 / 2:47 pm

      Absolutely…anything for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather
    July 19, 2011 / 3:12 pm

    Wow a 14 hour day?! Gosh i’d be beat after that. I’m so glad you love your job! Makes life better huh?

  14. Pingback: Tropical Butternut Squash Salad | "The way to his heart…"

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