Picture this. It’s a Sunday afternoon and you have yet another summer barbecue. July 4th. Your friend’s kid’s 1st birthday. Your cousin’s neighbor’s graduation. Your parents complained they haven’t seen you all summer, even though it’s only July 5th. Your buddy bought too much beer (?) and needs help getting rid of it. The Red Sox are playing the Yankees. Again. Yes, I know. It’s tough having so many commitments.
It’s sweltering hot, but feels nothing like the tropics, save for one dish amidst all the all mayonnaise-laden, indistinctly-seasoned bowls of pasta and potatoes. There’s a stray bowl of vegetables that seems like a good choice in theory, but one bite proves it was ruined with an abundance of… is that more mayonnaise?
Didn’t your neighbor/aunt/boss serve the exact same dishes yesterday/last weekend/last summer? How is it that everyone you know that you thought didn’t know each other is in cahoots over menu planning? They’re all… out to get you. It hurts. I know. I’m sorry.
But as I was saying, there’s one saving grace. A dish so colorful and mind-blowingly delicious that has everyone asking, “Honey, did you try the sweet potato salad? You’re gonna love it!” Snicker.
And, “This is why it’s so hard to keep my girlish figure in the summer. All these parties with so much good food. Ugh (as they go for more).” Snicker.
You know the truth, of course, and decide to make it known, because while it’s fun to keep everyone in the dark, it’s more fun to see their reaction when the facts are revealed.
Sweet potatoes? phooey. So five years ago. They’re all well and good and surely most people nowadays get that they’re more nutritious than a regular potato, but really? They’re still rather calorie-dense. Butternut squash is where it’s at. Lower in calories* and just as creamy, sweet, nutty, delicious. Like butternut squash fries are
just as good better than sweet potato, butternut squash salads make everyone think they’re eating the most delicious sweet potatoes ever. And when you tell them it’s butternut squash, I guarantee you’ll get all kinds of ego-stroking along the lines of, “Butternut squash? Really? I never would have thought of that. You’re so smart! You should do this for a living!” You won’t need to pat yourself on the back. They’ll do it for you.
And since you really want to knock their socks off, you’ll go on to tell them what else is in it. Or rather, what’s not. Nothing fatty, refined-sugary, processed, or chemical-y. Simply put, nothing icky. Just wholesome, natural fruits, vegetables, yogurt and spices. Which all marry together so well that even the trained chef at the party gives a surprising revelation: “I guess you really can eat awesome food and still be healthy.”
I guess they only teach butter and cream in culinary school? Oh, and mayonnaise. Who could forget that.
Tropical Butternut Squash Salad
3lbs peeled, diced butternut squash
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sliced scallions (white and light green parts)
20oz can pineapple tidbits, drained, juice reserved
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened flaked coconut
4oz nonfat plain Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 375ºF. 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, turning occasionally with a spatula, until the squash is fork-tender and caramelized in spots. 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.
Transfer the squash to a large bowl and add the pepper, scallions, pineapple tidbits, and toasted coconut.
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.
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 2.9 g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 135.8 mg
Potassium 582.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Sugars 9.1 g
Protein 3.1 g
* Don’t believe me about the calories? You can certainly make this salad with sweet potato instead of butternut squash if you wish, but it will have 55 more calories (that’s 42%) per serving. I don’t know about you, but I like to maximize my consumption. The more low-calorie, clean, awesome-tasting foods I can stuff my face with, the better.
Looking for more healthy, delicious summer barbecue ideas? Try my…
Grilled Eggplant Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese
Smoky Eggplant Guacamole
Black Bean, Mango and Quinoa Salad
Sweet Roasted Corn and Strawberry Salad
Thai Cucumber Salad with Roasted Peanuts
Tandoori Grilled Chicken
Chicken Tequila Burgers
Spiced Skirt Steak with Arugula, White Beans and Grape Tomatoes
Vegan, Sugar-Free High Protein No Bake Cookies
Or try my friends’…
Deviled Egg Trio (Guacamole, Bufflo, and Sundried Tomato- Basil)
Pineapple-Tequila Glazed Chicken
Grilled Portabello and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Simplest, Most Delicious Grilled Fish – Rustic Italian Style
Spicy Cold Soba Noodle Salad
Roasted Chickpeas with Feta, Mint and Lemon
Cilantro Fiesta Jicama Slaw
Grilled Tomatillo Salsa