Chipotle Black Bean and Butternut Squash Salad

January 19, 2011

I know it is too early in the winter to feel this way and I am going to suffer when the wet and cold months roll on, but I have spring fever.  We had a couple of warmish days around here and all I can think about is firing up the grill and bringing dinner outside.  Alas, this cannot be done as it is still dark long before dinnertime and truly not all that warm.  A girl can dream though, can’t she?  We did manage to grill up some chicken burgers before the sun set and then rush inside to warm our bones while eating the burgers with a side of Chipotle Black Bean and Butternut Squash Salad.

My yearnings for the light flavors of summer brought me to dream up this side dish salad.  So often when I make winter veggies, they are hot and rich.  The beauty of this salad is that it celebrates butternut squash, a classic fall and winter vegetable, but tastes very light and fresh.  Instead of the traditional approaches of blending it into a savory soup or other hot preparation, the squash is roasted then tossed with black beans, onions, cilantro, and a sweet and smoky chipotle dressing.  Serve the salad room temperature garnished with roasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) and feta or goat cheese.  It is a great side for grilled meats or burgers.  You can also serve atop a bed of lettuce for a light lunch.

Ingredient note:

Chipotles are smoked jalepenos.  Find them in a can in the Latino section of your supermarket.  They are usually labeled Chipotle in Adobo Sauce.  Freeze the extra chipotles to use in another dish.

Pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds. Do not use pumpkin seeds with the shells on.  Find pepitas at Trader Joe’s or at natural food stores or well-stocked supermarkets.

Chipotle Black Bean and Butternut Squash Salad

Serves 6 as a side dish

the Squash

3 cups butternut squash (one small), small dice

1 tablespoon olive oil



Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Toss the diced butternut squash with the oil, salt,  and pepper.  Roast in the oven 25-35 minutes until the squash begins to caramelize. Stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even browning.

the Dressing

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 chipotle chili in adobo

1/2 teaspoon salt

Place the oil and whole garlic cloves in a small saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat until the garlic just begins to brown.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In blender, combine remaining dressing ingredients.  Add the garlic and oil.  Blend until smooth.

the Salad

4 cups cooked black beans (2-15 ounce cans)

1/2 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup roasted pepitas (see note)

1/4 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, onion, cilantro, and garlic.  Add the roasted butternut squash.  Toss with 1/2 of the dressing.  Taste and add salt as needed.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to 1 day to let the flavors blend.  To serve, toss salad again and top with feta and roasted pepitas.

to roast pepitas: put in a dry pan over medium heat.  Stir frequently.  Roast until pepitas begin to brown.  They will pop and become roundish.  Remove from heat and cool.  You may want to make extra as a yummy snack.

Here is a printer friendly version of the recipe:

Chipotle Black Bean and Butternut Squash Salad

You may also like:

Southwestern Chicken Burger

Chipotle Salsa


9 Responses to “Chipotle Black Bean and Butternut Squash Salad”

  1. Amy Zimmer Says:

    Maybe one day per week or something we should email you our menus for one our days of cooking to get inspired. Have you read “The Family Dinner,” by Laurie David? Tonight we had: not swedish meatballs meatballs, (turkey burger) cucumber/tomato raita, rice, and oven roasted fingerlings, yams and carrots. My 16 year old made the dessert, frozen berries with melted chocolate chips drizzled on top. Oh and left-over carrot ginger soup. YUM!

    • Karen Says:

      I’ll have to check out that book. Thanks for the recommendation. Carrot ginger soup, I haven’t made that in a long time! Sounds great.

  2. gracey (: Says:

    yesterday for dinner my mom made this and it was sooo yummy and it kept my energy balanced for volleyball afterwards! (: and i had it again for lunch today!! haha oh! and my mother would like to know if you make your own recipes or you just adapt them or what…

    • Karen Says:


      I’m so glad you enjoyed the salad! Yes, it would be perfect for before a big workout. This is a recipe I created myself. If it is based on another person’s recipe, then I will say “adapted from.”

  3. Janice Says:

    I just made the Chipoltle Black Bean Butternut Squash salad for my quilt guild and there were requests for the recipe. It was fun to make and gave me the excuse to prepare a Butternut Squash for the first time. Never to old to learn something new. . .

  4. deborah Says:

    Chipotles are not smoked Jalapeños. They are their own kind of chile.

  5. […] Chipotle Black Bean and Butternut Squash Salad […]

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