Shredded “Pumpkin” Butternut Squash Salad for Halloween!

Halloween-themed recipes and posts are flying around food blogs and I need to get on board. After all, I do enjoy making holiday-themed recipes where I can use a little creativity and play with my food 🙂

Side note: Halloween reminds my of my mom. She LOVES Halloween – from decorating her graveyard in the front yard (it’s amazing, I need to find a photo), to throwing parties, dressing up and making fun food. She loves this holiday so much that I painted her a large Halloween serving platter for her birthday…which is in March (no where near October 31st). No lie.

Here’s the plate I painted at one of those “paint your own pottery” studios; before and after the “firing session” taken with my camera phone:

No worries, that’s a friendly spider! He justs wants a little nibble of whatever you are serving and he won’t bite 🙂 Maybe he will want a taste of my shredded butternut squash salad? It’s definitely festive!

Just look how bright and cheerful!! Such pretty fall colors that can also be transformed into a pumpkin shape:

Cara over at her Fork and Beans blog has been posting adorable Halloween food ideas and she inspired me to jump on the Halloween-food bandwagon! Go check out her fun posts to see all the goodies she’s come up with 🙂 I admire her writing and her story, we just met via blogging and I already love her.

I’ll work on a sweet treat but wanted to be creative with veggies to help balance out all those sugar-laden goodies floating around.  I first attempted a raw version of this salad but I couldn’t get past the fact that the squash was a little too tough for my liking. You could try this salad without microwaving or steaming it but I preferred the taste when it was slightly tender but maintains a little chew.The addition of toasted, crunchy walnuts and sweet raisins makes this lightly dressed salad an approachable and delicious way to enjoy butternut squash in a different form. A little sweet, a bit of brightness from the vinegar, a touch of salty – yum! Forming it into a smiling pumpkin increased the fun factor while eating too 🙂

I used the Titan tools from Bed Bath and Beyond to quickly peel and shred my butternut squash (well worth the $15!!) but you could grate the squash, use a mandoline with a shredder or use a food processor with a shredding plate to cut down on prep time. It didn’t take me long at all to pull this dish together so the kitchen tools came in handy for this recipe!

Shredded “Pumpkin” Butternut Squash Salad 


4 cups butternut squash, peeled and shredded (or grated)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 – 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (or agave for vegan)
1/4 cup walnuts (or pecans), toasted and chopped
3 – 4 Tbsp dried currants, raisins or dried cranberries
sea salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp orange or lemon zest
squeeze of lemon juice or 1 -2 Tbsp of orange juice

For garnish
Stem of a medium zucchini, cut in half (for pumpkin stem) – or use green bell pepper, stalk of broccoli, piece of celery or use more raisins/currants/cranberries


Microwave version
1. Add shredded butternut squash, apple cider vinegar and olive oil to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook for 75-90 seconds until slightly tender (or more if you prefer a more cooked squash).
2. Add honey, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
3. Take approximately one cup of mixture and form into a circle on a plate. Place stem of zucchini on the top middle for a “pumpkin stem” and add walnuts and raisins in the shape of eyes, nose and mouth or just toss nuts and dried fruit with squash in a bowl and enjoy! (except for the inedible zucchini stem).

Stove version
1. Fill a pot with one to two inches of water. Bring to a boil. Place shredded squash in steamer basket or colander and sprinkle with salt. Place basket or colander in pot and cover. Allow to steam for about 2 minutes, until slightly tender (or cook more but make sure it’s not too limp).
2. Transfer shredded squash to a mixing bowl. Add apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
3. Take approximately one cup of mixture and form into a circle on a plate. Place stem of zucchini on the top middle for a “pumpkin stem” and add walnuts and raisins in the shape of eyes, nose and mouth or just toss nuts and dried fruit with squash in a bowl and enjoy! (except for the inedible zucchini stem).

Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Makes four side dishes

This recipe is featured at Recipe Lion’s Halloween Blog Hop post and Ricki’s Wellness Weekend at Diet Dessert and Dogs.

10 thoughts on “Shredded “Pumpkin” Butternut Squash Salad for Halloween!

  1. Okay first off, let’s talk about your artistic talents that you have been hiding. I absolutely LOVE that platter you made for your mom–it’s amazing and I want one now! 🙂 Secondly, thank the Lord you hopped onto the Halloween bandwagon–it’s about time and by the looks of it, you should be steering. That squash salad is too adorable for words–I wouldn’t eat it though, I’d just stare at it in admiration. Thirdly, I think we are officially blog dating 🙂 Like I said, the mutually adoring Nora and Cara club. Those were some seriously sweet words that warmed my heart. How is it possible to love someone just from their blog? We’re making it work. haha. Oh, I want to see that pic of your mom’s decorated yard, please! xoxo Cara

    • HAHAHAHAHA, I love it! I hope Chris and Greg don’t get too jealous of our blog dates/relationship 🙂
      Awww thanks for your kind words! I do enjoy art in all forms – I should make more time to draw and paint, so fun!
      I’ll have to find a photo of my mom’s graveyard, it’s super cool!!! Everyone driving by likes to stop and stare : )
      Hugs to you!

  2. That plate that you made is just plain adorable! And that is coming from a girl who literally despises spiders and anything remotely close to maybe wanting to look like a spider. Hate them. But your plate? ADORABLE! I never ever thought that a spider could be cute, and I especially never thought that I would be saying that about a spider. Bet your mom was super happy with her present.

    What a great idea to shape the salad into a pumpkin. That would be such a huge success with kids, no doubt about it!

    • Thanks so much Sonia! 🙂 I am terrified of spiders too…after too many episodes of insane bites etc, I can’t stand those little guys in person!
      I thought I’d make it fun to eat – The salad is so simple but a new way to incorporate butternut squash (love that veggie!) I bet carrots would work too…

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