Sweet grapes and roasted butternut squash combine with meaty walnuts and pungent blue cheese in this satisfying salad recipe. This post is sponsored by Grapes from California, but all opinions are my own.
Growing up, we almost always had grapes in our house. My grandmother loved snacking on them, and — as a result — I often did too. Fast forward a few decades, and my kids love packing red, green and black grapes for lunch and snack time at school.
Hint: Freeze grapes in single serve containers and they’ll do double duty as an ice pack in lunch boxes.
But California grapes aren’t just something to rinse and munch on. Increasingly, I am seeing them pop up in everything from restaurant appetizers to sandwiches to recipes for roasted chicken dishes. Like many other fruits and veggies, grapes are a versatile food both suited for the familiar sweet applications of fruit salads, jellies and juices, and savory applications where the inherent sweetness can be a welcome contrast to more savory flavors.
In a few weeks, Grapes from California will be taking to Twitter for their “Endless Possibilities with Grapes from California” Twitter party to talk about the many ways to incorporate grapes into your snacks and meals. I hope you’ll join @GrapesFromCA and me on Oct. 13, 2015, at 9 p.m., eastern time (6 p.m. pacific time).
During the party, we’ll be discussing the endless ways to mix in #GrapesFromCA and we want to hear your grape ideas, so search for that hashtag and join in. There will also be plenty of chances to win several gift cards during the party.
There will also be plenty of chances to win several gift cards during the party, so be sure to register for the party to be eligible to win! You can RSVP for the Twitter party here.
Did you know that 99 percent of table grapes commercially grown in the U.S. are grown in California? And did you know California grapes are in season from May to January?
One of my favorite ways to enjoy California grapes right now is in big leafy green salads for lunch. I first had grapes in the signature salad at a deli near my office. Initially, I was a little skeptical, but the sweet flavor turned out to be a delicious contrast to other flavors in the salad.
In my version, sweet grapes and roasted butternut squash are paired with leafy greens, meaty walnuts and pungent blue cheese. You can also add zesty red onions, spicy jalapenos and other flavors, if you desire. The result is a highly satisfying, filling salad perfect for lunchtime.
And grapes are pretty good for you too — for every ¾ cup serving of grapes, you’re only consuming 90 calories and grapes are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols.
Grape, Roasted Squash and Blue Cheese Salad
- 2 cups leafy salad greens , in bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup roasted squash
- 1/2 cup halved grapes
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- Optional: sliced or diced red onions , sliced red bell peppers, chopped jalapeño peppers
- Layer the leafy greens, squash, grapes, walnuts and blue cheese in a bowl (resealable if you are transporting it somewhere). Top with whatever other ingredients you desire.
- Drizzle with dressing just before enjoying.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.