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foodie fridayCan we get a “TGIFF”?!?  It’s Foodie Friday, which I’m sure is almost as exciting as the impending weekend, and I have a great recipe to share with you today!  Thanksgiving is now less than two weeks away, and I’m guessing that many of you planners are already finalizing your Thanksgiving dinner menus.  Well, don’t finalize too quickly, because you’ll want to make room for this dish!  It contains another new-to-me type of squash, and I can tell it will quickly become a new favorite.Cranberry Maple Delicata Salad 010

It’s no secret that most Thanksgiving dinners are filled with lots of white, simple-carb-based foods … and I certainly think you should enjoy the ones that you love and indulge on this special day.  But I also think that it can’t hurt to toss in one more dish that’s chock-full of Thanksgiving flavor … and happens to also be colorful, filled with nutrients and antioxidants, and very healthy.  Speaking of chock-full, ovens on Thanksgiving Day are always full, and this dish can be made on the stovetop to make more room for your standard Thanksgiving treats!  So join me in adding some green to your Thanksgiving table!

Cranberry Maple Delicata Salad The Lyons' Share

Cranberry Maple Delicata Salad

This dish is a perfect blend of flavors – the sweet tartness of the dried cranberries and maple syrup blend well with the creaminess of goat cheese, the warmth of cinnamon, a kick of spice from the cayenne, and mouthful after mouthful of freshness from the vegetables.

Serves 1 (or serves 3 as a side)

Ingredients Cranberry Maple Delicata Salad 001

  • 3 cups spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 delicata squash
  • 1 T reduced-sugar dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 T crumbled goat cheese
  • 1.5 T walnut pieces
  • 5 spears of asparagus
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • shake or two of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp orange juice
  • 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Poke a few holes through the skin of a whole delicata squash.  Microwave entire squash for 3 minutes to soften.  When cool enough to handle, slice squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Cranberry Maple Delicata Salad 002
  2. Slice squash thinly (about 1/2 inch thick) and lay slices on a grill pan sprayed with cooking spray or olive oil.  No need to peel the skin off, as it is edible and tastes good, but you can do so if you prefer!  Sprinkle slices with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. salt, and place grill pan on stove. Grill for about 12 minutes, flipping half way through.  (Note: you could also cook squash in a frying pan using a similar method, or roast slices at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes … but you’ll miss the pretty grill marks!  The truth is that the oven is broken in the Lyons household, so I had to resort to stovetop cooking, but I’m glad I did because it turned out great!)Cranberry Maple Delicata Salad 005
  3. While squash is on grill pan, rinse and drain chickpeas, and place in small frying pan sprayed with cooking spray or olive oil.  Sprinkle 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a shake or two of cayenne on your chickpeas, and keep on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  During the last minute, add walnut pieces to pan. (If you’re using the oven for your squash, you could also toss chickpeas and walnut pieces on a baking pan for about the same time).
  4. Steam asparagus and chop into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together apple cider vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup, and remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  This will serve as your salad dressing.
  6. Tear spinach into bite-sized pieces and lay in serving bowl.  Top spinach with dried cranberries, goat cheese, asparagus, heated chickpeas and walnuts, and grilled delicata squash.  Drizzle dressing over salad … and dig in! Cranberry Maple Delicata Salad 012

If made according to the recipe for 1 (dinner-sized) serving, this dish has 302 calories, 11g fat, 46g carbs, 14g fiber, and 13g protein.

I ate (and loved!) this salad last night as my main meal, but I think that a smaller side-dish portion would be a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving dinner.  I am guessing that this salad would also be a wonderful base for leftover turkey the day after Thanksgiving, when you’ll certainly be craving some veggies and nutrients, or a nice light meal for the day before Thanksgiving when you want something quick and easy to prepare for gathering family.  Or, enjoy it any day of the year when you’re craving some delicious Fall flavors!

So tell me in the comments … What (other) dishes are you planning for Thanksgiving Day?  Any Thanksgiving recipes you’d like to see health-ified on the blog?



  1. Janka on November 15, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Seems ironic that there should even be such a thing as “reduced-sugar dried cranberries” –who added so much sugar in the first place?? I’ve noticed lately that the food industry has been adding sugar and more sugar to all kinds of things that never used to be as sweet. I do like sugar–more than I ought!–but I prefer it in the form of a dessert or treat!

    • Megan Lyons on November 15, 2013 at 6:28 am

      Oh Janka, I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for pointing this out, because I certainly rolled my eyes at it when I first bought these. There ARE “regular” dried cranberries without sugar; sadly, the conventional grocery store where I found myself didn’t have them, and I wasn’t able to head to another location … so I settled for the lesser of two evils (the “reduced” sugar). Very, very sad that sugar is added to EVERYTHING these days, as it’s making all of us more reliant upon it. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Linz @ Itz Linz on November 15, 2013 at 6:43 am

    YUM! this salad looks fantastic!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted…Friday FavoritesMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      Thank you so much, Linz! Itz delicious 😉

  3. Davida @ The Healthy Maven on November 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Yum!!!! Delicata is so underrated. I hadn’t tried it until a few months ago and it quickly became my favourite. I have yet to add it to salad though. Now I must find whatever happened to my vegetable cravings because these days I’m having a hard time motivating myself to eat salad. I’ve been all about the carbs! What is happening to me?!?

    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      You should definitely try adding it to salad! It adds a nice hint of sweetness and substance without overpowering the salad. I wonder if the carb cravings are happening because of the weather cooling down? Or stress in your life? Glad you’re listening to your body on the carbs, but still get in those veggies :).

  4. Amy @ The Little Honey Bee on November 15, 2013 at 7:28 am

    How I love this combo of flavors! I am so with ya on lightening up Thanksgiving but still enjoying. I am so glad that my family was on board with this “philosophy” this year and we had a lovely dinner. Now I need to convince them to have another Thanksgiving celebration — American style! Happy Friday lovely, have a wonderful weekend.
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    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      You should definitely celebrate American Thanksgiving … why not?! Impossible to give thanks too often ;). Glad your family got on board with your philosophy … I’m spending Thanksgiving with my husband’s family this year, and luckily they totally understand as well! Hope you had a great weekend!

  5. Angela Nadler on November 15, 2013 at 8:31 am

    TGIFF! Wow, this salad looks delish! You are so creative!

    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      Thank you, Angela! I hope you try it and enjoy it!

  6. Karen on November 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Thanksgiving will be a challenge for me. I am making and delivering a family of 6 Thanksgiving dinner, then Grandpa at 90 yrs old will expect the “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner and then I’d like to make myself some healthy choices as well. Sounds like LOTS of planning and lots of cooking.
    WIsh YOU were going to be here to help me. 🙁

    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Bummer, I wish I could help you out, too! But I’ll help out for Christmas! You’ll do a great job with Gpa and your healthy choices – just choose where you want to indulge, and fit in a few veggies where you can!

  7. Michael Anderson on November 15, 2013 at 11:22 am

    No oven? I couldn’t imagine! We bake so much …

    Agree with Danka as well – it has been stunning to me how many of these things have sugar piled into them. You think ‘dried fruit’ … but then there is so much bad stuff – at least with dried pineapple you can SEE how it is doused in sugar!
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    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      I know, Michael, it’s been a challenge! A bit “better” since we’re only home 2-3 nights per week, but I never realized how much I relied on the oven! I roast veggies almost every night, so I’ve had to get creative … and tonight I went over to my parents’ house to use their oven for a recipe I’ll be posting next Friday! The part for the oven is in, though, and the repair-person will come on Friday! YES on the added sugar in fruit … so unnecessary!

      • Michael Anderson on November 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm

        I saw that on Instagram earlier – borrowing your parents oven 🙂 Nice to have family close (well, so long as you WANT family close, that is!)

        Looking forward to the recipe … we have been working on new traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas … so many were based on the boys being little, so last couple of years have been disjointed. Should be fun.
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        • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm

          YES! It is awesome to be so close to my parents – they’re great, and I love getting to see them so often! There’s never enough time in the day to hang out as much as we’d like, but I appreciate being so close!

  8. Holly Lyons on November 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    while i know your mom (and rest of the family) will be missing you, i’m excited to have you around for turkey day! will we be adding this one to the menu? 🙂 and tell kev to hobble over and fix that oven for you, riiiiiiiiiight……….. miss you!

    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      I’m excited about seeing you and Teddy for Turkey Day, too! It seems like your mom has the menu all planned out, it looks delicious! Will be a great break and so nice to hang out with everyone. Kev was great about meeting the repair-person at the house since he was home the past two weeks … he’s been totally handling it! But, they had to order a part to fix it, so we have to wait until Friday when we’ll both be in Dallas with a flexible schedule! xo

  9. Arman @ thebigmansworld on November 16, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Mmm that looked so good on instragram and looks even better here ha. Although we don’t have delicata squash here, I can definitely sub it for another one. Thanks for the recipe!
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    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      Of course! I hope you try it and like it! Man … two negatives for Australia … spaghetti squash is expensive and there’s no delicata squash?!? At least there’s kabocha and (savory) pumpkin! Hope you had a great weekend!

  10. Cailee @ on November 16, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Wow!! THis looks amazing!! I love fried chickpeas on a salad!! YUM!!

    • Megan Lyons on November 17, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks, Cailee! I love the crispness of the chickpeas, too – great hit of protein and fiber, and super delicious!

  11. Caitlin on November 21, 2013 at 9:58 am

    after making my cranberry chicken salad i am on the hunt for more recipes that incorporate cranberries! this sounds lovely.

    • Megan Lyons on November 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      It was tasty, Caitlin! Hope you try it!

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