This is a must try salad especially if you are an avocado fan. It is simple to whip up and is full of color, nutrients and jam packed with flavor! In honor of February being American Heart Month the American Heart Association has a contest going on called: Take Avocado to Heart. They are encouraging everyone to come up with their best avocado recipes and this one is my submission. It is a family favorite in my home and is a great recipe to promote health and wellness with delicious food.
This salad offers a variety of different textures with the soft butternut squash and avocado and gets a good crunch from the toasted sunflower seeds. The cilantro lime vinaigrette ties this salad together with the sweetness from the honey and the tang from the lime. It is simple, colorful and delicious.
Avocados…. all I have to say is YUM!! Well that’s not all but avocados are delicious and loaded with the heart healthy fat, monounsaturated fats, they are cholesterol free and offer up a good dose of vitamin B6 and folate. The limes provide brightness to this dish and an added benefit is that they will help to prevent the avocado from browning. Covering this dish well with plastic wrap, by gently pressing against the surface will also help to delay the browning effect.
This dressing is very simple to make and is what will help to tie all the ingredients together. To make simply place in a small bowl or I prefer to use a Mason jar with a lid and then stir or shake to combine. If you are preparing this dish to be served the next day I would hold off on adding the dressing and the avocado till the day of serving. I will sometimes make the butternut squash and dressing the night before then mix everything together right before serving.
I used butternut squash in this recipe for its sweetness and bright color. It just goes so well with the avocado. You can use any type of fresh squash though; fresh pumpkin also works well with this dish. The squash can be roasted or steamed. I prefer to steam it simply to save time. If you prefer to roast it halve and seed the squash and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes.
So next time you have an avocado craving give this salad a try! I bet it will become a favorite for you as it has for my family! I encourage you to submit your own healthy avocado recipes and make sure to share them with me!
Avocado, Butternut Squash & Black Bean Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Author: Brittany Sparks
Makes 13 (1/2 cup) Servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Total Time: 25 min
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 (15oz) Can No Added Salt, Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
Zest of 1 Lime
2 Tbsp Lime Juice (~1 large lime)
½ Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
2 Tbsp Cilantro, Chopped
1 Tbsp Honey
3 Cups Butternut Squash, Cooked and Cut into ½ inch pieces
2 Avocados Cut into ½ inch pieces (~2 cups)
2 Tbsp Dry Roasted Sunflower Seeds
Cook the butternut squash. Peel and cut into ½ inch cubes. Steam for about 10-15 minutes until you can pierce easily with a fork. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl or Mason jar combine the lime zest, lime juice, honey, chopped cilantro, garlic, olive oil, and the salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
In a large bowl add the butternut squash and black beans. Stir to combine. Add the avocado and lime dressing and gently toss together.
Place sunflower seeds in a small non-stick skillet and heat until they start to expose their oils (seeds will appear shiny). This will take about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Place salad in a serving dish and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.
This salad makes for a great vegetarian taco filling. I like to top with chopped red cabbage.
Salad is best served the day of making it as the avocados will start to turn brown. If making for the next day you can prepare the squash and mix with the beans and make the dressing. Hold off until the day of serving to add the avocados and sunflower seeds and toss with the dressing.
The salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container.