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Maple Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Roasted Squash
Our Colorado Home Cook tests a one-pan meal that can deliver big fall flavor with very little prep

If, like me, you favor meals made with seasonal foods, then you know it’s time for a bounty of winter squash! 

A simple pecan and maple crust (with just a dash of heat for balance) is the perfect topping for wild sockeye salmon, all served with slices of roasted delicata squash.

Because it’s closely related to summer squashes, delicata’s yellow and green striped skin is thin enough to leave on, making it quick, easy and colorful.

Roast wild salmon comes to life with a simple crust made with equal parts pecans and panko bread crumbs — or gluten-free crumbs — plus a bit of country-style mustard, maple syrup and a dash of cayenne to balance the sweetness of the pecans and maple syrup.

Nutritionally, this is also a powerhouse meal, chock-full of omega-3s and vitamin D from the sockeye, fiber, vitamins A, C, and B6 and antioxidant carotenoids from the squash, and antioxidants plus vitamin E from the pecans.

I used wild Alaskan sockeye salmon fillet portions for this dish, but you could use any species of wild salmon you happen to have in the freezer.

If you don’t like spicy fare, you can omit the cayenne. But it does nicely balance the sweet elements of the crust without adding too much heat.

Side dishes that offer complementary colors and textures would include roasted green cauliflower, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts.

My rating: 3½ out of 4 stars

Maple Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Roasted Squash
Serves 2


*Watusee Chickpea Crumbs, Gillian's Foods Gluten-Free Italian Bread Crumbs and Ian's Gluten-Free Panko Breadcrumbs are available at many natural food and online stores.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF and position the oven rack in the top third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the squash into ¼-inch thick rounds using a sharp knife. Using a spoon or small cookie cutter, remove the seeds from the center of each ring.
  3. Toss the delicata rings in olive oil and spread evenly over 2/3 of the parchment paper, leaving room for the salmon pieces later. 
  4. Sprinkle the squash with a pinch of salt and roast for 10 minutes. While the squash roasts, add the melted butter, panko, pecans, country-style mustard and maple syrup to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Season to taste with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. (I prefer 2-3 generous pinches of cayenne.)
  5. After 10 minutes, gently turn the squash rings and add the salmon pieces to the parchment, then top each portion with half of the maple pecan topping.
  6. Roast an additional 10 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked through (check after 7 minutes to avoid overcooking) and the squash and the maple pecan crust are both lightly browned.
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