Butternut Couscous Bowls with Maple Vinaigrette.
These butternut squash couscous bowls are the perfect fall meal! Massaged kale, roasted squash and chickpeas, creamy goat cheese, crunchy pepitas, all drizzled in a maple vinaigrette! Tastes like an autumnal dream.
This is as fall as it gets!!
A cozy and comforting grain bowl, complete with massaged kale, roasted squash and chickpeas, creamy goat cheese, salty pepitas for crunch and a maple vinaigrette. It’s like what I want to eat for lunch every single day in the fall.
This bowl is satisfying, easy to throw together and super good. I love how customizable it can be, how the dressing gives it a sweet and savory kick and how crunchy the kale and pepitas are. It’s filled with texture and crunch – which is the key for a meal to be swoon-worthy for me.
In my book Everyday Dinners, I share my grain bowl formula. The way I like to do it? A favorite grain, something crunchy (a nut or seed), something creamy, like cheese or avocado, a bunch of roasted vegetables and a dressing that makes it extra special. That is just a summed up version, of course, but you can see how I put it to use in this dish!
This grain bowl formula:
- I almost always use pearl couscous. I love how big it is, how the dressing can really coat each piece. I also prefer the texture over quinoa or farro.
- For vegetables, I’m obviously going with squash today because HELLO FALL!! I’m also using some kale. I chop up the kale then massage it with a drop of the vinaigrette, letting it sit and soften for a few minutes. This removes some of the bitterness and also helps in be less chewy.
- I want things to be a little extra satisfying, so I’m adding chickpeas! I roast them right with the butternut squash. This adds some protein and fiber and all around delicious flavor.
- Creamy crumbly goat cheese is my favorite option for this bowl. Feta will also work. So will parmesan!
- Salted, roasted pepitas give this dish an extra nutty crunch. I love them so much. And I love their size! Perfectly medium and crunchy.
The dressing is an apple cider vinaigrette with maple syrup. Oh my word, it is delicious. I love how truly MAPLE-Y it is – and how it doesn’t have mustard. Don’t get me wrong, I am a mustard freak. But without the dijon in this dressing, the maple really shines.
It’s a true, light vinaigrette – tangy from the vinegar, sweet from the syrup and excellent on any fall salad.
My favorite thing about bowls like this is how versatile they are. They can be great for lunch or dinner, even served warm or chilled, right from the fridge.
A forever favorite!
Butternut Couscous Bowls with Maple Vinaigrette
Butternut Squash Couscous Bowls with Maple Vinaigrette
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place the squash and chickpeas on a bake sheet. Toss with the olive oil, then sprinkle all over with a big pinch of salt and pepper, the smoked paprika and the garlic powder. Toss until combined.
- Roast for 15 minutes, then flip the chickpeas and squash and roast for 10 to 15 minutes more.
- While that roasts, make the couscous. Also make the dressing.
- Place the kale in a large bowl. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the dressing and use your hands to massage the kale for a few minutes. Let it sit until ready to use.
- Toss the couscous with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
- Add the couscous to the bowl with the kale. Add in the squash, chickpeas, goat cheese and pepitas. Drizzle with the dressing and toss well. Enjoy!
- Whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, nutmeg, a big pinch of salt and pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Dress the salad! This stays great in the fridge in a sealed container.
Tastes like dreamy autumn days!