blog, main dish, savoury/savory
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Fiesta Friday 143: Warm Spicy Butternut Squash Couscous Salad with Pistachios

Pistachio nuts, the red ones, cure any problem.

~ Paula Danzinger

First off: Happy Hallowe’en! This is a picture I made with the Jam and the Melon. The Jam made the bat that’s flying across the window on the right, and they helped to glue on the clouds, bats and ghosts.


As I mentioned in my previous post, I consider my Spicy Marinated Butternut Squash to be a base recipe as I’ve been incorporating it into other recipes. This recipe is one I have been making for a couple of weeks and I started making it after getting a little inspiration from Elaine@foodbod when she shared her lunch with roasted carrots and pistachios and I realised that I only ever just eat pistachios. I mean, I mill through them like there is no tomorrow. I love them plain, roasted with salt, roasted with salt and pepper, roasted with cumin – you name it, I’ve probably eaten it. And yet, I’ve never taken the time to shell them, set them aside and use them for something else besides my mouth. When I saw Elaine’s lunch it was like a lightbulb going off in my head and I knew I had to incorporate them into an actual meal. I was house-sitting for my aunt the first time I made this salad and I loved it so much I made it again the following week. Admittedly, I ate a good bunch of the pistachios I shelled before I remembered that they were supposed to go into this salad…..

The spiciness of the butternut squash is offset by the creaminess of the avocado and the pistachios and seeds provide a lovely crunch that offers a nice contradiction to the softer elements. Additionally, pistachios assist with dietary fibre besides already contributing to your protein intake and YIPPEE they are heart-healthy! Always a nice side benefit for me.


Before moving on to the recipe, I am really excited to let you all know that I am co-hosting with Angie for Fiesta Friday#143 this week along with Judi from Cooking with Aunt Juju. As your co-host, I will be visiting and commenting on your Fiesta Friday posts as well as selecting features. As I’ve mentioned a few times already, Fiesta Friday is a great way to get to know new bloggers and it’s a lot of fun. Everyone is really nice, supportive and helpful. I’ve gotten to know some great bloggers from this event that runs from Friday to Tuesday every week, so even if you aren’t ready to Fiesta on Friday, you’ve another few days to get yourself in the party mood. If you decide to join Fiesta Friday, you need to make sure to link your blog post to Fiesta Friday as well as my blog and Cooking with Aunt Juju. That way we get a pingback and know that someone knew has joined the party. Also, so other readers and partiers know how to find your blog, tag your post with “Fiesta Friday”. For more information and to link to Fiesta Friday , click on the below image. Remember to be eligible for Features, you need to adhere to the guidelines.



Warm Spicy Butternut Squash Couscous Salad with Pistachios


Serves 2


  • approximately ½ cup uncooked couscous
  • 50-60 roasted and salted pistachios, shelled
  • 26 black olives, sliced into thirds
  • 1½-2 avocados, chopped
  • approximately ½ cup washed spinach, excess water squeezed out.
  • roasted butternut squash seeds
  • approximately half the Spicy Marinated Butternut Squash
  • a drizzle of the leftover oil from the marinated butternut squash (optional)


  1. Boil a kettle of water/pot of water.
  2. Meanwhile, place the desired amount of couscous into a heat-proof bowl and cover with the water once boiled and a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt. Leave for 5-10 minutes until the water to be absorbed. The couscous will swell as it absorbs the water.*
  3. Once ready, fluff with a fork and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, place the pistachios, olives, avocado, seeds, and spinach in a large bowl and mix together.
  5. Add the cooked couscous tossing gently.
  6. Add the butternut squash:
    1. For warm salad, add the butternut squash immediately after cooking and gently toss with the other ingredients and serve immediately.
    2. If you don’t want a warm salad, let the butternut squash and seeds cool first before adding to the other ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. As you mix the hot butternut squash through the salad, the spinach will wilt slightly.
  8. If you want it to be a little spicier or if you find the couscous a little dry, add some of the leftover oil.

*I don’t actually measure my couscous so this is approximation. I just pour it directly into a pot and judge visually if it’s enough. I over estimated today and I had extras, so I suggest mixing all your ingredients in (minus the squash) and adding the couscous tablespoon by tablespoon until you judge you’ve enough for two. If you have leftover couscous you could serve with some pesto.


  1. Pingback: In My Kitchen – February 2017 | Spoon in a Saucepan

  2. This is the salad recipe I have been looking for! This is definitely making our dinner tonight along with a chicken spaghetti marinara. Thank you for sharing Maggie!

  3. That is a very cute picture for Halloween! That’s a lovely salad, and I’m a big fan of pistachios, just like you. 🙂

    • Thank you! It was so fun to make. Right now I’m eating a bowl of monkey nuts but I wish they were pistachios!

  4. This salad looks lovely and healthy! It has some of my favorite ingredients, all mixed together. I will have to try this–I have a butternut squash sitting on my counter right now! Thanks for co-hosting FF this week!

    • YAY! Glad to hear that, Jenny! Do make it and let me know what you think. I’m going to make it again later in the week and I already can’t wait..the butternut squash..but maybe the salad, too. And you’re welcome – it’s fun cohosting FF!

  5. petra08 says

    I just love butternut squash and roasted it my favorite! The salad looks light but filling and it sounds delicious 🙂
    Thank you for co hosting FF and have a great week!

    • Thanks, Petra! It’s fun co-hosting. I love roasted butternut squash, too, in any way shape or form but currently, this roasted butternut squash is my favourite 🙂 Happy FF!

  6. This looks fabulous – so many of my favorite things all packed into one dish! I’m loving all the different textures in this dish.

  7. Yum! This looks so good! I’m not a huge fan of salad so the only way I get excited about salad is if it has non-salad ingredients in it like pasta, some kind of protein, or something sweet like butternut squash or pumpkin. Thank you for sharing! Happy Fiesta Friday!

    • Thanks Ai! Glad you are intrigued by this one – I love all salads myself but I can understand where you are coming from as I prefer hearty salads myself! Happy Fiesta Friday, and happy hallowe’en.

  8. Michelle says

    Maggie this salad sounds so tasty!
    The squash recipe sounds fantastic too!
    Thanks for Co-hosting at Fiesta Friday this week!

    • Thanks, Matt. I agree – it was a good call! I can’t believe I’d never thought of it before – I mean I use walnuts and pecans…but pistachios just weren’t on my radar! I hope you like the marinated squash, it’s my current favourite thing.

    • No, thank you for the inspiration! Honestly, when I saw that picture it was like “How come I never thought to do that?”…although resisting the pistachios long enough to include them is difficult! 😛

  9. Hi Maggie – what a beautiful salad! Butternut squash is one of my favorites and putting it in a salad along with pistachios and spinach makes it very special. Looking forward to co-hosting with you – have lots of fun and Happy Fiesta Friday 🙂

    • Likewise, Judi. I’m really looking forward to co-hosting with you. This Fiesta Friday will be a blast. It’s a yummy salad – I hope you get to try it at some point!

      • Hi Maggie – I am just now joining the party. Unexpectedly I was the host of a tailgate party here in my home on Sat. for a big football game so I was scampering around two days trying to pull food together to feed the crowd. I am also continuing to have trouble with my “comments” going to “spam” or awaiting moderation. Sorry, I have not been there but plan to catch up today 🙂

      • No worries, Judi. I wasn’t around much over the weekend myself, so I’m glad I got a head start on Friday! That sounds like a busy Saturday but I hope it was a lot of fun! Oh, no! I hope your fix your comments soon. That would be annoying and stressful.

  10. I think I’ve fallen in love with this recipe Maggie! It sounds absolutely delicious! Have fun hosting Fiesta Friday this week!!!

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