Acorn Squash Wedges with Herb Salad

It’s been a period of change and transition in our household. So much so that at times I’ve felt like we’re living on quicksand. Not just in our home—in the larger world there’s also been some mighty big stuff happening. The potential loss of our healthcare and the new travel ban in the US. Earthquakes, hurricanes, and the uncertainty of relief efforts to help those people directly affected  as they sort out their losses and rebuild their lives. We’ve been lucky that no such destruction has hit us directly. Still, Hurricane Irene came close several years back and we witnessed the devastation our neighbors experienced first hand. Hurricane Sandy hit the towns on Long Island near where I grew up. It seemed like the are and the people living there would never recover. It was a slow, painful process.  

I write this as a reminder that there is a flip-side to these events and stories. People have the strength and determination to rebuild. A nearby town in Vermont has a gleaming town center post-Irene. Boardwalks and businesses on the coast of Long Island once thought lost are flourishing now. I know none of it was easy, but I admire the human spirit’s determination to always do better.

As for the change and transition at our home, there is the normal progress of our children growing―our daughter about to learn to drive and our son about to leave home for his first job post college. My husband and I have each had health problems this summer. Nothing that can’t be tended to or fixed, but conditions that required testing, meeting new doctors, elaborate tests, and patience while things got sorted out. And sorted out they are. I’ve gone from being extremely afraid to feeling hopeful. With some lifestyle changes and determination, I’m on the road to feeling well and whole.

Of course, the seasons are changing in New England—slowly and in a different way this year. We’re having 85 degree days while we watch leaves changing and harvests being tending to.

This light dish of Roasted Butternut Squash with Herb Salad is a perfect blending of the changes going on around around us. Fresh butternut squash is always a fall treat. Here it’s roasted with a bit of maple syrup for extra sweetness, then cut into wedges. A salad of micro-basil and fresh mint provides the tastes and freshness of the summer weather we are about to leave behind. We enjoyed it for lunch with a wedge of cheese, bread, and cider. It will be equally good alongside some roasted meats and potatoes for dinner. Enjoy it any way you like.

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.


©Acorn Squash Salad with Herb Salad by Dena T Bray

Acorn Squash Wedges with Herb Salad

Yield: 4 Servings


For the squash:

1 acorn squash, split in half, seeded

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the salad:

1 small tomato cut into 4 slices, rinsed

½ cup micro-basil or other micro-greens, rinsed

Handful mint leaves, rinsed and torn

4 radishes, trimmed, rinsed and sliced thinly

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the squash halves on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the maple syrup and the olive oil. Place in oven and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut each half in half again, reserving any liquid that has accumulated during the roasting process.

Place on squash wedge on each of 4 salad plates. Place one slice of tomato on each plate. Divide the micro-basil evenly and distribute between the 4 plates. Top with mint leaves, radishes, and lime zest. Drizzle with fresh lime juice and the reserved liquid from the roasted acorn. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy.

Dena Testa Bray has been writing Gathering Flavors, a culinary blog, since 2011. She is a trained chef & ran a home based cooking school. Dena now designs websites, focusing on work with creative people. You can see her website work at She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and family.