Butternut Squash Grain Salad – a salute to Trader Joe!

This salad is perfect as a week-end project as it, like some people I know, improves with age.  No kidding, the salad is much better the next day or even two days later as the grains and the currants plump up and the raw spinach tones down a little.  As much as I like spinach,when raw it can be a little a little tannic to the taste as it is high in calcium and the insoluble form of oxalic acid.  I have made this salad using about 1/2 of a bag of baby spinach which is 3 ounces or so, or the whole bag, which is 6 ounces.

I am a Trader Joe customer and in making this salad  I used their 10 minute barley as well as their pre-prepared butternut squash.  The directions for making the salad will reflect these ingredients.  Of course, you can use regular barley, just so you end up with 1 cup cooked barley, and two cups of a fresh butternut squash.

I had bought Trader Joe’s cut up butternut squash before but had not bothered to read the label until recently.  I did, and WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Clean-up was certainly easier. You simply cut the top of the package, set it in the microwave on HI for 5 minutes, and it is done.

The honey mustard dressing used could not be simpler.  Click here for a link to the recipe.

Besides the fact that I thought the salad was delicious and very satisfying, it took only about 18 minutes to make from start to finish.




  1. ½ cup barley (1 cup cooked)
  2. 2 cups butternut squash, cut in cubes
  3. 3 ounces baby spinach, washed, dried, and chopped
  4. ¼ cup currants
  5. ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  6. ½ cup honey mustard dressing (found in this blog)
  7. Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Cook the barley according to Trader Joe’s package directions. This takes 10 minutes plus 5 minutes resting.
  2. In the meantime, steam the butternut squash. (The directions for the packaged squash says to cut the end of the package and cook in the microwave on high, which I did for my salad.)
  3. Toast the pine nuts
  4. Chop the spinach
  5. Make the dressing according to directions.
  6. Allow the barley and the butternut squash to cool, then mix 5 first ingredients.
  7. Add the dressing, gently fold.
  8. Refrigerate overnight for optimum results.


If you want your salad to be more in line with a “green salad”, you might double up on the spinach.  In that case, you also might want to add a dash of nutmeg (why not?)…here is a picture of the salad with 6 ounces of chopped spinach.


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