Bring the warm, comforting taste of autumn straight to your table with this flavorful roasted butternut squash salad.
Savory-sweet roasted squash dusted with garlic powder tops a bed of healthy greens and fall flavors. Zesty red onions and creamy goat cheese play exceptionally well with sweet dried cranberries and earthy pecans. All of these wonderful textures and tastes are topped with a sweet and tangy maple dijon vinaigrette.
This amazing salad has so much going on, even the salad-phobic are going to love it.
Serve this nutritious, gluten-free salad as a main course, a side dish on Thanksgiving, or treat yourself to the best lunch you’ve had all month.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s Easy to Make. The butternut squash takes a little time to prep and roast, but the rest of the salad comes together quickly.
- It’s Packed with Flavor. This salad has so much going on, both salad lovers and haters are going to fall for it.
- It’s Super Healthy. With kale, spinach, cranberries, and squash, this salad is chock full of vitamins, including vitamin C and beta carotene, calcium, and fiber.
- You Can Make a Batch for the Whole Week. Prepare double the recipe on Monday and have lunch all week long.
How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Preparing fresh squash takes a bit of time and it will need even more time to cook. But the rest of the salad, including the homemade dressing, comes together in minutes. Let’s take a closer look at how to make this recipe.
- Goat Cheese Crumbles. Soft, creamy, goat cheese is really the best option for this salad. But if you can’t find any, feta cheese will work too.
- Butternut Squash. There just isn’t anything better than tender, caramelized, perfectly roasted butternut squash to help you warm up on cold autumn days.
- Red Onion. This brings a flash of zest and spice that really amps this salad up. Always use red onion, not yellow or white. If you can’t find red, shallots make the best substitute.
- Dried Cranberries. These dried fruits can have a lot of hidden ingredients, including loads of sugar. Look for all-natural dried cranberries for the best flavor. We like Amrita’s apple-juice-sweetened craisins for this recipe.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. This acidic ingredient is the key to bringing the vinegary dijon and sweet maple syrup together in the dressing. Choose ACV with the mother to get the added benefits of gut-supporting probiotics.
1. Prepare the Squash. Peel and cut it into cubes.
2. Season the Squash.
3. Roast the Squash. Spread evenly over a parchment-lined baking sheet.
4. Make the Dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Slowly add the oil to achieve a smooth texture.
5. Remove the Squash from the Oven. Mix the greens and red onion in a large bowl.
6. Plate the Final Ingredients. Add the squash, goat cheese, cranberries, and pecans to the salad mix and drizzle with maple Dijon dressing.
Recipe Tips, Variations, and Substitutions
- Give the squash time to roast. The squash is done only when it’s fork tender and starting to brown at the edges. Leaving it in this long is key to bringing out the caramel sweetness that really pulls the dish together.
- Cut the squash into uniform pieces. It can be challenging to get the flesh of a butternut squash cut into uniform squares, but it is worth it to try. Pieces of the same size will cook more evenly for a better final product.
- Add more fruit. Cranberries bring some excellent tartness to this dish, but they aren’t the only fruits that work. I like to substitute apples or pomegranate seeds to mix things up.
- Bring up the crunch factor. Pecans have that perfect combination of earthy sweetness. But if you want something with a bit more crunch, try some pumpkin seeds instead.
- Bring in the lemons for an extra tang. Sprinkling the greens with a little lemon juice before dressing them will brighten the flavor of the entire dish.
- Substitute with your favorite greens. Kale and spinach provide a hearty base for all the different textures in this recipe but feel free to substitute them with your favorite mild greens.
Make Ahead & Storage Recommendations
Like most salads, this one can be made ahead of time if needed. The key is to keep the ingredients separate to avoid anything getting soggy.
Store the roasted butternut squash by itself in the refrigerator. The goat cheese, cranberries, pecans, and dressing should also be kept separate until you’re ready to eat. The greens and onion can be mixed together and stored in the fridge.
Once you’re ready to eat the salad, mix all the ingredients and top with homemade dressing.
If you have leftover salad you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for three to five days. If possible, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to eat.
Try These Other Butternut Squash Recipes
Can’t get enough of this orange, earthy-sweet squash? Here are some more of my favorite butternut squash recipes.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Kale and Goat Cheese
This roasted butternut squash salad recipe features creamy goat cheese crumbles, zesty red onion, and tart dried cranberries, all finished with perfectly roasted squash and maple Dijon vinaigrette. It makes the perfect lunch, dinner, or side.
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For the Roasted Squash
- 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad
- 3 cups baby kale heaping cup
- 3 cups baby spinach heaping cup
- ⅓ cup goat cheese about 2 ounces, crumbles
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup pecans roasted and chopped
For the Dressing
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel the squash, scoop out the seeds, and cut it into cubes. If you haven’t done it before, read our article on how to peel and cut butternut squash.
Place the butternut squash cubes in a bowl and toss with olive oil until well coated. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste and toss a bit more.
Arrange the seasoned cubes on the baking sheet so they’re not touching. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes.
While the butternut squash is roasting, whisk the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and dijon mustard in a small bowl. Slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
The butternut squash is done when it’s fork tender and the cubes begin to turn golden brown on the edges. Once it’s done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
To serve the salad, add baby kale, baby spinach, and red onion to a large salad bowl and toss with a couple tablespoons of the dressing.
Plate the salad mix and top with the roasted butternut squash, crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberries, and pecans. Drizzle with additional dressing, as desired.
If you think you’ll have leftovers, keep the extra ingredients separate. They’ll store better this way!
Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2314IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg