Pesto-Balsamic Couscous with Butternut Squash and Feta

Fall really feels like it is in full swing now that November is here! The arrival of November marks my one year “blogaversary” and as of today I’ve officially been married for one month (can you believe Husband didn’t wake me up with a poem and flowers?!). 

It’s also my first fall in my new house. Although I purchased my home last October, renovations kept me from actually living here until January. We had our first fire in the gorgeous fireplace in my house yesterday, after Husband gave me a minor heart attack texted me that he was on the roof trimming branches around the chimney. I had grand dreams of appetizers and wine in front of the fireplace, but the dogs were a bit too involved in the process for it to go as planned. 

It’s been a gorgeous autumn in the Ozarks. We have enjoyed watching the leaves change color and although fall football has been a bit disappointing for us Razorback fans, I have to say that tailgating this year has never been better. 

We set up a hot dog and bratwurst buffet at the last home game of the year against Auburn this last weekend. We have acquired a serious condiment selection and were eager to have a garnish-it-yourself meal option that was easy to prepare and customize. Here’s the spread we put together: 

Plus of course some autumn touches: 

And, naturally, I had to dress the humble hot dog buffet up with a couple of delicious salads. I made my three-bean salad and served it in this divine monogrammed salad bowl I received as a wedding present: 

And made this pesto-balsmic couscous with butternut squash and feta. This recipe is perfect for tailgating because it’s delicious served hot or room temperature – no need to get up and down reheating everything! 

Pesto-Balsamic Couscous with Butternut Squash and Feta
Serves 6-8

You will need:

  • 3 cups cooked couscous
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt, crushed red pepper, and cumin
  • 1 tsp. each sea salt, black pepper, dried oregano, and paprika
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 2/3 cup packed diced fresh parsley 
  • 1/2 cup arugula (optional)
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to 375. Peel, seed, and cut butternut squash into large cubes. In a large bowl, add the onion and garlic. Toss the mixture with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
  • Arrange prepared butternut in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash and onion start to blacken. 
  • Meanwhile, prepare couscous according to package directions. I recommend adding in a vegetarian or chicken bouillon cube to add flavor. When the couscous is finished cooking, stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to prevent clumping. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, stir together parsley, pesto, feta, lemon juice and spices. Transfer the cooked squash and onion mixture into the large bowl and stir gently (try not to mash the diced squash). 
  • Stir in the cooked couscous, breaking up any clumps. 
  • Toss mixture with balsamic vinegar and arugula (if using). Don’t add the avocado until just before serving. 
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