Warm autumn salad packs a punch of flavor and nutrition, all in one mouthful

In today's "Home with the Lost Italian," Sarah Nasello shares a recipe for a perfect new alternative to traditional fall side dishes.

Sarah's Warm Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash Salad is a showcase of colorful flavor that is perfect for the upcoming fall and winter holiday season. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

If you’re looking for a new alternative to the traditional autumn side dishes, this Warm Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash Salad is a perfect option. Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and maple bring the flavors of fall to this gluten-free and vegetarian dish, which features roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash tossed with toasted pecans and dried cranberries.

This autumnal side dish features roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash, along with toasted pecan halves and dried cranberries. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Brussels sprouts and butternut squash are currently in peak season, and these two vegetables pair wonderfully together. The pungent fragrance and leafy texture of the Brussels sprouts complements the mild tenderness of the butternut squash, and roasting them in a hot oven further enhances these qualities. The caramelization that takes place during the roasting process draws out the natural sugars of each vegetable, which is roasted until lightly charred and tender.

Before roasting, you will need to trim the ends off each Brussels sprout before slicing in half. Then, toss the Brussels sprouts with good extra-virgin olive oil and seasoning and place in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan.


The Brussels sprouts and butternut squash are simultaneously roasted on separate pans in a hot oven, until tender and golden brown. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

The butternut squash is peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes, and then tossed with maple syrup, extra-virgin olive oil, cinnamon, ground or fresh nutmeg and seasoning and then placed in a single layer on a separate parchment-lined sheet pan.

The veggies can be roasted at the same time at 400 degrees, with one sheet pan in the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third. The Brussels sprouts should be placed on the top rack and roasted for about 20 to 25 minutes, and should be turned halfway through to ensure even browning, until they are lightly charred, fragrant and golden.

With its firmer, more fibrous texture, the butternut squash will take just a bit longer to roast and is better suited for the bottom rack. The squash is roasted for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly charred with golden brown edges, turning once after 15 minutes.


The pecans can be toasted on the stovetop as the vegetables are roasting, over medium heat for five to eight minutes until they are fragrant and golden brown. Pecans can go from toasted to burnt pretty quickly, so you will want to keep an eye on them throughout the process, stirring frequently.

Pecan halves are toasted on the stove over medium heat until browned and fragrant. Sarah Nasello / The Forum


Once the roasting and toasting are complete, the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and pecans are tossed with dried cranberries until combined. And then, for a final fall flourish, the salad is drizzled with warm maple syrup right before serving.

A splash of warm maple syrup is added to the salad just before serving. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

This side dish would go well with roasted birds, like turkey duck and pheasant, and can be served warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days and are just as good as when first served as the flavors have had even more time to meld together.

Colorful, nutritious and delicious, this Warm Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash Salad is easy to make and filled with seasonal flavor, making it the perfect side dish for the upcoming fall and winter holiday season.

Colorful and delicious, this autumn salad packs a punch of flavor and nutrition, all in one mouthful. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Warm Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash Salad

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Serves: 4 to 6


Brussels sprouts ingredients:

3 cups fresh Brussels sprouts, yellow leaves removed, ends trimmed, halved

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Butternut squash ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Other ingredients:

1 cup pecan halves, toasted

1 cup dried cranberries


2 tablespoons maple syrup, heated until warm

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and position oven rack in the top third and another rack in the bottom third of the oven.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil; set aside. Prepare the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash and roast them at the same time on separate racks.

For the Brussels sprouts:

In a medium bowl, toss the halved Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper until combined. Place the sprouts in a single layer, face-side down, on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Roast in the oven on the top rack for 10 minutes, then turn the sprouts over for even browning and continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes until the cut sides are lightly browned and charred, but not blackened.


For the butternut squash:

In a medium bowl, add the cubed butternut squash, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and toss until combined.

Place the butternut squash in a single layer on the other lined baking sheet. Place the sheet on the bottom rack and roast for 15 minutes, then toss the cubes and continue roasting until softened and lightly browned, about 10 to 15 more minutes.

For the pecans:

As the vegetables roast, place the pecan halves in a medium saute pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Pecans can burn quickly, so watch them carefully.

To assemble the salad:

In a large bowl, add the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, toasted pecans and cranberries and gently toss to combine. Drizzle with the warm maple syrup and toss again until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at

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