Butternut Squash Caprese with Kale-Walnut Pesto

By Jaymi Heimbuch
January 8, 2016, 11:47 a.m.
Roasted butternut squash brings the traditional caprese salad to a new level.
Roasted butternut squash brings the traditional caprese salad to a new level. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

About This Dish

The traditional caprese salad is made with vine-ripened tomoatos, fresh mozarella, fresh basil and a dash of salt, pepper and olive oil. When made with top-notch ingredients, the simple salad is a party for the taste buds. Though a fresh caprese salad is perfection as is, this recipe gives it a winter twist by tossing in roasted butternut squash and a drizzle of kale-walnut pesto for a little extra flavor and a lot of extra nutrients.

The kale-walnut recipe is adapted from Epicurious, which explains, "Both kale and walnuts feed your lover's brain with the omega-3 ALA, which is converted into molecules that protect your brain cells and are linked to a lower risk of depression."

Prep Time
Total Time
4-6 servings
  1. Baking sheet and parchment paper
  2. Kitchen knife
  3. Cutting board
  4. Measuring cups and spoons
  1. 1 butternut squash
  2. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
  4. 3 cups packed fresh kale leaves, torn
  5. 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
  6. 14 cup olive oil
  7. 14 cup toasted walnuts (or raw walnuts)
  8. 12 cup Parmesan cheese
  9. 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  10. 3 cloves garlic, optional
  11. 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  12. 4-5 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  13. 1 cup fresh mozarella, cubed
Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place the butternut squash on the center rack for 10 minutes. This will make it easier to cut the squash.

Remove the squash, peel and cube it. Toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the squash for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

While the butternut squash is cooking, make the kale pesto. In a blender or food processor, add in the kale leaves and basil leaves and pulse until finely chopped. Drizzle in the oil and pulse until combined. Add in the toasted walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic (if desired) and a pinch of salt and pulse until the pesto is a smooth texture.

On a serving platter, combine the butternut squash, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sliced basil leaves, and pesto. Serve and enjoy!