I love giving airport rides. Like, love giving airport rides.
My friends will be the first to vouch that whenever someone announces a trip in or out of Kansas City, I am usually the first to call dibs on taking them to or from the airport. Or sometimes if I hit the jackpot, both. Even if that means setting my alarm for some insane hour in the morning, or staying up for a coffee-fueled midnight ride, I just love any chance to play “chauffeur” for my friends. Why?
Because those 30-minute drives are gold.
On the way out of town, I love picking friends up at their houses and helping them load up whatever they felt was important for the journey ahead. I love seeing the anticipation in their eyes, and getting to hear them talk through their hopes or worries or excitement or stories about what’s to come. And then — the best part — I love getting to be the one who hugs them good-bye. Oh my goodness, the good-byes. I know they are such a small thing, especially on regular ol’ business trips or vacations home to see the family, but those little moments always feel so special. And I love getting to be the one who waves good-bye and sends them off on the next adventure.
Even better? Picking people up from the airport on their way back into town. I’m pretty sure any of us would vouch that a day of travel can take it out of you, and the last thing anyone wants to do upon landing is wander through a dark parking lot in search of your car. (Or in my case, clicking my remote hundreds of times in search of my lost car.) Heck no, I’m happy to circle the terminals round and round until my friends arrive and they can get curbside service. Then the best part begins — getting to hear the initial trip reflections, (literally) fresh out of the gate. Those raw, unedited reflections are my favorites, and I love getting to be the first person with whom friends can process the experience. Or hey, if they’re pooped or not up for talking about the trip yet, I’m also more than happy to get their minds off of things and chat about something totally different, or crank up some tunes. And then drop them off at the home sweet home they’re usually so happy to see.
Granted, I’ve learned the value of airport rides in large part from having experienced the other side of the coin, being so freaking relieved and thankful to have a familiar face waiting on both ends of a trip. But I must say, my favorite is getting to be the chauffeur. So fingers crossed that my friends have many more travels in the future, so that I can be along for the ride. :)
That said, over the years, I have also developed a little tradition of bringing something else along for the ride — a nice little snack and drink for the traveler. Sometimes it’s as simple as a power bar and a cup of coffee. Sometimes it’s a sandwich and a chilled La Croix. Or sometimes — like for a friend this past week — it’s a tupperware full of couscous that could be eaten in the car or saved for a ready-to-go lunch to pack for the next day.
My friend was pretty convinced that I had spent way too much time on this meal, but thanks to my favorite shortcut from DeLallo, this tasty couscous only required about 5 ingredients and was ready to go in minutes. And we both loved it.
The shortcut is one that I take quite often, and one that you’ve heard me praise many a time before — DeLallo Salad Savors!
These handy salad topping kits have been a staple in my refrigerator ever since I discovered them a few years ago. But in addition to helping create some quick and easy salads, I also love using them in non-lettuce-y dishes and salads, such as this easy seasonal couscous.
It was quite simple to make. I just roasted some butternut squash, chopped up some kale, boiled a batch of Israeli couscous, and added in the ingredients from the “Fresh” Salad Savors kit — goat cheese, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. (The “Vibrant” Salad Savors kit would taste great with this one too — blue cheese, dried cherries and pecans — yum!)
After drizzled with a simple orange vinaigrette, and tossed all together…
…this colorful, seasonal, fresh, healthier, and mega-tasty couscous was ready to go.
Perfect for a quick dinner for me, leftovers the next day, and a delicious welcome-home-salad for my friend at the airport.
In a large mixing bowl, toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil. Sprinkle with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper, and toss until combined.
Spread the butternut squash out in an even layer on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the squash for even cooking. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the squash is tender and slightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer back to the large mixing bowl.
Add couscous, kale, cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese, and vinaigrette, and toss to combine.
Serve warm, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
To Make The Vinagirette:
Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
This post is sponsored by DeLallo. I have been partnering with them this year to bring you some tasty new Italian dishes, and all opinions are my own as always. Thanks so much for continuing to support the brands who help make this site possible!
What a colorful and yummy salad!
Delicious recipe!! So you have a copy of the nutrition facts??
This salad is so perfect for this season! I love couscous with butternut squash!
This looks so satisfying. Absolutely delicious meal!
Thanks Katrina, we hope you enjoy it! :)
This is definitely a wonderful salad for fall. Love it ;-)
How SWEET are you?! Anyone would LOVE to get off a plane to this deliciousness! Thanks for inspiring my long lost hospitality gene :)
Love the look of that salad. I’m only familiar with a couple of those ingredients, but I think I’m going to try it. What a great friend you are to taxi folks to the airport. I’m only about an hour south of you, maybe we could be friends. Ha Ha, Grandma Ava to 10 super grand kids.
Thanks Ava, we hope you like it! :)
I loved reading about how you like to give rides to and from the airport. I am sure your friends love when you do this!
this looks DELICIOUS! I absolutely LOVE how healthy it is! ;-) so many flavors and textures too!
Thanks Michele, we hope you enjoy it!
What a cool friend you are! My daughter makes this salad and it’s so good!
Thanks Kat, we’re glad you and your daughter like it! :)
WOW – I love finding new healthy recipes to try out :) Thanks for sharing this!
I thought I was the only one who enjoyed give airport rides!
This is a wonderful looking salad, I just love the colors.
Thanks Adina, we hope you enjoy it!
This looks so good! Do you need to massage the Kale or can you add it as-is chopped? Any other greens suggestions besides kale?
You don’t have to massage the kale, but it always helps soften the texture up a bit, so it’s definitely a good idea. We think Swiss Chard or spinach would also work great in this recipe!
Looks delicious! I will keep an eye out of r the DeLallo salad kits, what a great idea!
How nice of you to be an airport chauffer for your freinds. I have done a lot of travelling, it is so much more fun when someone picks me up rather than having to drive myself after a long plane ride. Bringing your friends a snack, that is so so thoughtful! :)
Thanks Emily, we hope you enjoy this!
I am drooling and going to buy all the ingredients to try it today!! I am so excited!!
Thanks Ami, we hope you like it! :)
My husband and I have made this delicious salad twice. It’s great warm and cold (we have enough for leftovers the next day). Thank you for an easy, healthy and tasty recipe!
Awesome Renee, we’re happy to hear you and your husband enjoyed this! :)
1) This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it.
2) Where can you find those DeLallo kits? Hy-vee?
3) Cabn you give ME a ride to the airport next trip I take? lol
4) How ’bout them ROYALS????? :)
2. I’ve had luck at Whole Foods in town
4. WORLD CHAMPS!!!!!!!
This dish is the best!! We have probably made it every week since I saw this post. All of our friends who’ve tried it want the recipe (don’t worry, I share your blog info with them too!) and they’re all excited were bringing it to Thanksgiving.
Thanks for saying that Alaina, we’re so happy you enjoyed it! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)
Wow! This is so delicious! This is the perfect vegetarian side dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Thank you!
Thanks Deanna, we hope you enjoyed it and that you had a great Thanksgiving!
Love Love Love all your recipes! First one I made was your oven baked chicken and I have been baking chicken your way ever since. Now this! It is delicious and I do not like vinegar.
Thank you Mayra, we’re so happy to hear that! Thanks for being a fan and for giving these recipes a try! :D
This salad looks delicious! Roasted butternut squash is one of my favourite foods. I am definitely going to make this salad. I’m not a fan of goat cheese, do you think feta might work instead?
I have used roasted squash in a spinach wheat berry salad with quinoa. It was delicious. https://doubletherecipe.com/2016/01/25/butternut-squash…ry-spinach-salad/
Thanks for the great salad!
p.s. You’re pictures are inspiring.
Thanks for sharing with us Valerie, that’s a nice looking salad! :)
OK, I’m eating this for lunch, as week speak. It is delicious!!! Used Quinoa instead of couscous. I will make this many many more times!!! Thanks for the GREAT recipe!!!
Yay! We’re so happy you enjoyed this Paula — thanks for sharing with us! :D
I was wondering if this would still be as good if I left out the couscous? My family is trying to make better food choices and from what I’ve read couscous isn’t that healthy so I thought leaving it out would help make this better for us.
Hi Nicole! Yes, you could definitely leave out the couscous. We hope you enjoy!
Is the Kale cooked? Raw kale is pretty bitter in flavor
Hi Tiffany! The kale is raw, but it softens and mellows once it gets tossed with everything. We can’t taste any bitterness with the vinaigrette and other ingredients. We hope you enjoy!
I swapped out the couscous for farro cooked in vegetable broth. This is a super yummy salad that I am actually making for the in-laws for Thanksgiving!! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Charlene — we’re glad you enjoyed this, and this would be great with farro — we’ll have to try that sometime!
Tried it yesterday, deelicious!!!
We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Reine! :)
Thank you ??
Great recipe!! Thank you for sharing. I’ve taken a couple spoons full out for lunch the next day, before I added the dressing.
Next day I added some Greek yoghurt, was awesome as lunch!
Thank you, Yvonne, we’re so glad you enjoyed it!
I make this all the time – love it!
Awesome, we’re so glad to hear that, Elsa!
Legit speechless, these roasted butternut squash kale and cranberry couscous recipe look unreal! My husband would love it!
This was so delicious and filling! The savory with a hint of sweet from the dried cranberries and butternut squash was perfect. My boyfriend loved it too!
Thx for sharing roasted butternut squash kale and cranberry couscous recipe, I definitely add it to my cookbook!
Made a version of it, with a indian inspired dressing using garam massala, using almonds and sultanas instead and added some salmon. Amazing!! Thanks for the recipe!
My favorite salad recipe of all time1
I love butternut squash and was looking for a new way to use it. I’d been stuck in a quinoa rut too, so was happy to use couscous! This is my new favorite salad! Turned out great and I love being able to make it earlier in the day and having it ready to just pull out of the fridge for dinner whenever we get home. Plus, it goes very well with whatever protein we’d like…tonight it’s shrimp. I was also happy to find a way my husband would eat more kale! Lol! Delicious! (BTW, I’ve already made 2 batches of your bourbon caramel sauce…WOW! Was I supposed to put that on top of something before eating it by the spoonful? Oops!)
Made this for lunch today and to pack for the rest of the week. SO good! I don’t like orange so I swapped the orange juice for 1 tbps lemon juice in the dressing which turned out pretty good!
Great fall recipe!! I always steam the kale for a more hearty dish. Would love to make it more often but I think all the chopping/baking/cooking the couscous etc. makes this recipe a bit labor-intensive. To make it worth my while I usually double the recipe to share with the family for the week. It lasts a long time in the fridge!
I made this and I LOVE it!
I love this salad to make as meal prep for the weak at work. Something different and delicious instead of just veggie salad!
Absolutely delicious! I’ve made it here times in the last month!