I’m fairly certain that someone in airport security stole the rubbery cushiony part off of one of my crutches.

I’m not really sure what kind of TSA officer would stoop so low as to steal the sole source of underarm comfort from a poor crippled girl…but it’s obviously the same type of TSA officer who insisted on patting her down just to ensure that she wasn’t harboring some kind of fugitive underneath her skinny jeans.  Given that she can barely hide socks underneath her skinny jeans…I have no idea what they were thinking.


I honestly probably wouldn’t even have noticed the missing rubber foamy thing except that when you fly to San Francisco to not run a marathon, though you absolutely for sure cannot run in any conventional sense of the word.  You are not exempt from walking.

Not at all.

You walk from one end of Fisherman’s Wharf to the other…

You walk from your hotel to the Ferry building…

You walk from mile 25 of the marathon to mile 26.2…


Because you know.

If you cannot be the one thing you really want in this world (a marathoner times three).

And if you cannot do the one thing that makes you feel really truly alive.

Then at least you can walk.  And watch.  And know that you’ll be out there again.



Oh, um.  And eat.

Which is why a serious detox is in order.

I’m trading in Ghirardelli chocolates for butternut squash grain salads with a southwestern twist.

And no one can stop me.

(Except for TSA agents.  They kind of scare my…hence why I let them walk all over me and steal my foamy cushiony thing. The bastards.)


Butternut Squash with Pepita Cilantro Vinaigrette
Serves 4, adapted from Vegetarian Times


  • 1 lb butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 cups jicama, chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 medium avocado, cubed
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp pepitas
  • 1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight and boiled for 1 hour
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Arrange butternut squash on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes or until fork-tender.
  2. When squash is done, mix in a large bowl with the jicama and avocado.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, cumin, olive oil, coriander, and cayenne pepper.
  4. Mix wheat berries into butternut squash mix.  Pour the dressing over the top and stir to combine.  Serve topped with pepitas and cilantro.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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66 Responses to Butternut Squash with Pepita Cilantro Vinaigrette

  1. marla says:

    Sorry to hear about the crutches & the airport security who always check the least assuming people. They pat me down always nd might as well reach into my skinny jeans 😉
    Glad you still got to enjoy SF. This squash looks heavenly.

  2. I am fairly certain it is like a conspiracy theory because last time my friend was on crutches at the airport- she came back with a missing foam thingy and the bottom rubber thingy missing too:)

    The squash and pepita look absolutely amazing- great way to mix things up a bit

  3. This looks like a delicious detox meal! I’m trying to be super healthy this week and this would be a wonderful addition to my meals. I bet you rock your crutch better than anyone else:-)

  4. Joanne says:

    Sorry about the foamy cushiony thing, but thankful for the butternut squash recipe and photos. I love butternut squash, it’s right up there in my top 3 fave veggies …

  5. Looks like a beautiful bowl of detox goodness, Joanne. You should have your next marathon in Toronto! That was this weekend, too. I can’t believe a 27-year old died 300m from the finish line.. Even though you may feel shitty you couldn’t finish your goal, be happy for what you do have: happiness, health and lots of good food! 🙂

  6. Danielle says:

    This looks great – I love jicama and have been trying to find more recipes for it -I normally just chop it up and devour it plain.

  7. sally says:

    Sorry to hear about your foam thing. Crutches are bad enough, but ones without the foamy thing even worse!

    This salad looks great and I love the addition of the jicama.

  8. What an awesome detox meal! Maybe you should bring some to airport security next time.

  9. Geez Joanne! Tough couple of weeks. Well good on you for getting back home and eating healthy again. I’m sure no one would blame you for posts of double chocolate fudge xxxx. I love this salad by the way. Lime, jicama, and wheat berries…beautiful combo!

  10. Candace says:

    I wandered around my kitchen yesterday with an unopened bag of wheat berries trying to think of what I could put with them to make a salad for the week. I ended up putting them back in the “grain drawer” and heading off to shop for the afternoon. Thank you for the inspiration!

  11. Raina says:

    Those sneaky security people…lol I haven’t been on a trip in so long; I guess I would even settle for a creepy pat down if it meant I was going somewhere.

    Your salad sounds healthy and delicious. Hope you are feeling better soon:)

  12. i was just at whole foods yesterday and they had this fabulous butternut squash salad with nuts, cranberries and caramelized onions. you just reminded me to re-create this at home. BUT I have to kick it up a notch.
    maybe wheatberries?
    oh, last night was the 1st night w/out tiger balm; you know i kind of miss that smell. how bad is that? lolol

  13. That Girl says:

    I’ve grown unusually accustomed to TSA patdowns. It probably isn’t healthy. But at least my kid only has one head, so probably worth it.

  14. Deborah says:

    You can never trust those TSA workers!! But you, on the other hand, I can totally trust because this looks fantastic!

  15. Gloria says:

    Joanne look really delicious!! gloria

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Ohmigosh pepita vinaigrette sounds fabulous.

  17. Jenna says:

    I’ve grown semi-accustomed to the pat-down–especially since I refuse to go through the X-Ray machine (I read an article in Time magazine about how the tests determining they were ‘safe’ weren’t exactly the best of tests–or something like that–enough to make me avoid them).
    Your bowl of orange delight looks wonderful!

  18. Faith says:

    Oh no, sweetie, hope you’re ok! Darn TSA officers, lol. Love the recipe, it looks hearty and perfect for fall!

  19. Barbara says:

    I had a hip replacement 4 years ago. You can imagine what I go through every single time. Some are nice about it, some are mean. Do I look like I’m smuggling something? A geezer like me? Cripes.

    Anyway, I’m loving all your squash recipes. The wheat berries, which I should use more, are a super addition to this dish, Joanne!

  20. Mo 'Betta says:

    I’m sorry you were on the sidelines, but you’re right, you WILL be out there again! Hang in there!

  21. Pam says:

    Those jerks.

    I bet this dish made you feel better! Sorry you couldn’t run in the marathon – I know how much you were looking forward to it.

  22. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Looks cool

  23. Juliana says:

    Sorry to hear about the cushion thing…but this squash dish with pepita and wheat berries looks delicious, I just open a kabocha, maybe can do something similar.
    Hope you have a better week Joanne 🙂

  24. I have heard from so many about how annoying and mean some TSA workers can be.
    Sorry to hear about the inconvenience you had to go through…
    This squash dish looks absolutely wonderful.
    How pure and clean flavors…

  25. Nicole, RD says:

    Two trips to San Fran so close together? You’re one busy bee! I hope the marathon was as enjoyable as can be. And the salad…perfect for a detoxing. I’m right there with you! My body needs fruits and veggies this week. Everything else is gravy.

  26. Christin says:

    Sorry you have been sidelined from your running. I have been recently to and was searching the interent for healthy recipes to cook to take off the few pounds I have gained due to lack of exercise. This recipe looks fabulous and it’s perfect because I have some pepitas to use up.

  27. Jeanette says:

    I’m sure your friends will appreciate you cheering them on – you are a trooper! And this recipe looks fantastic!

  28. “what kind of TSA officer would stoop so low “
    Won’t they all need to stoop really low since the rubber is right at the bottom:) Sorry, couldn’t help it. Hope you find a replacement

  29. Amy says:

    As if I needed another reason to hate flying. And I’m not on crutches. I think I would have taken the naked/foamless one and smacked him. Doesn’t butternut squash just make everything better?

  30. La Liz says:

    This peppery dish is the perfect fall weather fare. I need to “jicama” more often! Flying to San Francisco, on crutches to cheer your friends on — priceless. You’re a true friend. I see many marathons in your future!

  31. What a cool way to use squash. I’m on a total butternut kick but usually make it the old fashioned way, roasted with other roasted veggies. Pairing it with avocado and jicama is a great idea!

  32. Kalyn says:

    I am impressed with your good attitude about the whole crutches thing. What else can you do but make the best of it, and it sounds like you did.

    This sounds delish. Butternut and jicama, two of my favorites!

  33. They are the most evil people in the world! This looks delicious. I love squash and I love pepitas but don’t forget a little chocolate is healthy too 🙂

  34. OohLookBel says:

    I love the colours of this dish, very pretty! And I bet there’s a black market in foam cushiony things for crutches, headed by some stooge from the TSA.

  35. Bastards. Why would someone want just one? Surely if they are going to be so awful as to steal it, they would need a matching pair? Oh well, better for you that they didnt. Have you gone back to the Doc to get a replacement?

  36. Cara says:

    I’m glad you have your chin up, friend! You WILL be out there, I know it! Isn’t it funny though, people like me and you: we “complain” about giving up sweets but secretly we love veggies just as much. You know it.

  37. vianney says:

    some people..really? I am sure in no time you will be running. I am digging this in so many ways,jicama, avocado and the dressing..yum!!

  38. daphne says:

    gosh can u use the crutch without the rubber thingie??

    this looks like something i could eat and eat and eat!

  39. Megan says:

    That sucks about the crutches. Airports are getting more and more miserable.

    This dish looks amazing though!

  40. I love the flavor and texture combos here! Silky avocado, sweet squash, crunchy pepitas and chewy wehatberries. Amazing! This would be such a perfect lunch to pack to take to work. Yum!

  41. Lora says:

    you are so funny. Love jicama and love this dish.

  42. brocstar says:

    I don’t think I would of been able to watch it if I were you.. hope you got at least a little fun out of it!

  43. Johanna GGG says:

    I was looking at the wheat berries thinking how odd the pepitas looked – and then I read the ingredients – sounds great – I hope you glared at the TSA agents (when their backs were turned of course)

  44. Claudie says:

    Oh Joanne 🙂 I would say so many things about TSA agents, especially some of them, but since I’m flying this week, and I’m kinda scared of them too, I’ll skip for now…
    Now about your recipe: as usual, the colors in it are just lovely. You just make food vibrant.

  45. Can’t say that I relate to not being able to run, since I absolutely would not run anywhere unless my life absolutely, positively, certainly, without a shadow of a doubt, depended on it. Still, I know that it means a lot to you, and I’m sorry that you’re side-lined right now 🙁

    Now that I think of it, if there were three people in the room and only one serving of this salad, I could definitely break into a sprint!!

    Sue xo

  46. Lea Ann says:

    I’ve had two butternut squash on my counter for weeks. I dread the peeling and cubing. But seeing these photos has me motivated. Looks delicious Joanne.

  47. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, A perfect and healthy salad. Very seasonal. Blessings, Catherine ox

  48. Oven-roasted squash is my addiction of the moment! This salad looks pretty and delicious and I had never heard of Pepita Dressing!

  49. Veronica says:

    Oh, you poor thing. I know you will run many marathons, but am sorry you had to miss one you were counting on! I hope your recovery is a quick one…and that you’ve gotten a new foam pad! The salad looks fantastic and I bet the different textures made it so appealing! I love jicama’s crisp crunch

  50. Reeni says:

    You’re so sweet for going to San Francisco anyway to cheer your team on! We’ll be cheering you on next year. Your salad is a thing of beauty with the roasted squash and that wonderful pepita dressing over top!

  51. Shannon says:

    umm, they stole your foam topper?? what freakin jack…rabbit does that? boo. I’m glad you got to the ferry building and marathon to cheer everyone on despite their wrongdoings. You’ll be out there again hun, before you know it! Wonderful salad, can’t get enough squash these days 🙂

  52. tigerfish says:

    Truly, I enjoy this kind of all-the-veggies in one dish! So wholesome, fresh, healthy!

  53. Amy says:

    I think the squash and jicama combination would be very good and interesting in texture. Sounds like a lovely dish!

  54. girlichef says:

    What an awesome combo…love the chewiness of the wheat berries in there, as well. Hope your arm pits aren’t bruised up too badly. Ouch!

  55. Eep! Evil security dudes, picking on a poor crippled gal such as yourself. Evil!
    The salad looks seriously healthy and seriously delish. Hope you are on the road to recovery. ?

  56. Dawn says:

    This brought back memories of my recent trip to San Fran. I can believe a TSA agent would stoop so low considering they also threw my mustard out.

  57. Ali says:

    wow, your butternut squash dish looks so delicious, really love the photos. Great work on the photography 🙂

  58. Julia says:

    Is that why so many people suffice to tennis balls on the end of their crutches or walkers? Damn TSA agents stole the original rubbery thingys. I’m LOOOOOVING this salad. Sooooo my kinda dish!

  59. Matt Wrench says:

    Salads rarely excite me, but this looks amazing.

  60. thank you very much for sharing information about making about this dish… nurse staffing agencies San Francisco

  61. Chris says:

    They knew you were planning on taking over the plane with your foam cushiony thing in order to prevent them from serving the lunch service. If you had gone through with it, I don’t think they could have charged you, since you were stopping a “crime against humanity”. 🙂

  62. Bastards is right! I’m glad you had this dish to console you at least. 😉

  63. jennifer says:

    healthy AND delicious…nice! definitely going to try this soon, thanks!

  64. Ann-Louise says:

    This both looks and sounds delic! Love the colors and mix of textures and can’t wait to give it a try.
    I recently found your blog through Marcus Samuelsson and love it!

  65. Umm Joanne, you can eat butternut squash skin??! All this time I’ve been undergoing the annoying task of peeling them and also losing out on the nutrients?? I’ve had 2 huge food learnings today! This and that garlic is bleached. Anyway, you know the VT recipes often don’t appeal to me but when you post them, I always want to make them.

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