Made with fresh produce and a sweet and tangy homemade dressing, this Roasted Butternut Squash Salad is a vibrant recipe full of flavor and texture. Serve it on its own for a filling vegetarian meal, as a side to holiday dinners, and more!
Why You’ll Love This Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
With Thanksgiving just a few days away and Christmas right around the corner, we’ve been busy in the kitchen whipping up all our favorite comfort foods like creamy slow cooker mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and easy baked mac and cheese. While we love these recipes just as much as the next person, we’ve found ourselves craving something a little on the lighter side. So, compiling leftover odds and ends we had in our kitchen, we created this delicious roasted butternut squash salad! It’s:
- Super versatile and easy to customize
- Made with seasonal ingredients for a budget-friendly option
- Full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber
- Simple enough to eat every day but fancy enough for a holiday dinner
- Loaded with sweet and savory flavor and plenty of crunch
Ingredients You’ll Need
This butternut squash salad recipe consists of a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables combined with a homemade dressing to create the perfect combination of tastes and textures you’ll love! Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Olive Oil – A good source of healthy fats, this is used to form the base of the salad dressing as well as to coat the butternut squash in order to help them caramelize in the oven.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – The acidity brightens the dressing, cutting through some of the heaviness of the fats.
- Dijon Mustard – Included to add a slight tang that balances out the rest of the sweet ingredients.
- Maple Syrup – Used in both the dressing and on the roasted squash, maple syrup helps enhance the natural sweetness of the dish, creating robust flavor without the need for added sugars.
- Flavor Enhancers – Salt, pepper, and garlic are included for a boost of savoriness.
- Apples – We used red apples for a bit of extra crunch, but green apples would work as well! Their flavor will just be slightly more tart.
- Greens – A combination of arugula and mixed greens creates a beautiful salad that features a ton of vitamins and nutrients.
- Pecans – Incorporated into the salad, pecans add a buttery taste and a satisfying texture. If preferred, feel free to swap them out with almonds or walnuts instead.
- Dried Cranberries – Look for dried cranberries without added sugar. Or, if you prefer a tart tang, use fresh cranberries in their place.
- Goat Cheese – We’re obsessed with the creamy texture of goat cheese! However, any cheese you prefer such as feta or blue cheese would work.
- Butternut Squash – Roasted to enhance its flavor, butternut squash provides a good source of carbohydrates and fiber to keep you full.
How to Make This Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
This roasted butternut squash recipe comes together in three parts, but don’t worry. They’re all super easy to do, and your salad will be ready in no time!
For the Roasted Butternut Squash
- Prepare. To begin, slice and peel your butternut squash so that it is in bite-sized cubes.
- Toss. Add the squash to a bowl, and drizzle the maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper on top. Then, toss to combine, making sure all of the squash is completely coated.
- Bake. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender and fragrant, stirring twice as it cooks. Then, set it aside to cool slightly.
For the Dressing
- Mix. Add all of the ingredients to a mason jar or bowl, and whisk or shake until they are well combined and smooth.
To Assemble the Salad
- Create the base. Add the arugula, mixed greens, apples, roasted butternut squash, pecans, goat cheese, and cranberries in a large bowl.
- Toss. Pour the prepared dressing on top, and toss to combine.
- Enjoy! Serve the salad immediately.
One great thing about this butternut squash salad is how versatile it can be! Feel free to mix and match your favorite ingredients, and use whatever you have on hand. For instance, some of our favorite variations include:
Squash: Try swapping out the butternut squash for acorn squash or even sweet potato.
Veggies: Incorporate any vegetables you have in your fridge! Celery, beets, and red onions all make great additions, but you really can’t go wrong.
Vegan: To make this salad vegan, omit the cheese completely, or swap it out for plant-based cheese instead.
Protein: Turn this salad into a super filling meal by topping it off with protein like chicken, kofta meatballs, salmon, or even Thanksgiving turkey!
Grains: We think the butternut squash makes this recipe super filling all on its own, but you could easily incorporate extra grains like quinoa, rice, farro, or orzo.
We like to prepare a giant salad to keep on hand for a wide variety of meals including:
Light Lunches: Serve it on its own or with a side of cheesy focaccia bread for a quick and easy lunch recipe that will leave you feeling full and energized.
Complete Meals: Serve it as a side dish to your favorite main course like creamy herb chicken, or just add your protein on top.
Holiday Side Dish: Add this roasted butternut squash salad to your holiday dinner table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and more!
Make Ahead and Storage Options
This recipe is best served right away. However, if you want to plan ahead, you can prep the squash and dressing in advance. Then, it’s super quick to combine all of the ingredients and dig in!
Roasted Butternut Squash: Roast the squash, and once cooled store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to eat, add it to your butternut squash salad cold, or pop it in the microwave for a minute or two to warm it up.
Salad Dressing: Whisk the dressing together, and store it in a sealable container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad Common Questions
Yes, you can eat butternut squash raw. It has a sweet, slightly nutty flavor similar to that of sweet potatoes. However, we much prefer its flavor once roasted!
Butternut squash skin is completely edible once cooked. However, for easy eating, we prefer to use a sharp knife to peel it off once it’s cooked.
There’s not much butternut squash doesn’t pair well with! The maple syrup used in this recipe helps bring out its natural sugars, but it’s also super tasty made more on the savory side with ingredients like olive oil and fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme.
More Salad Recipes Perfect for Feeding a Crowd
Whether you’re preparing a holiday feast or whipping up a meal for one, a good salad always hits the spot, and we’ve got plenty to choose from!
- Fall Harvest Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Recipe
- Crispy Rice Bowl SweetGreen Copycat Recipe
- Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
For the butternut squash:
- 2 pounds butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the salad:
- 3 ounces arugula
- 8 ounces mixed greens
- 2 large apples (cubed)
- 1 cup toasted pecans
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup goat cheese crumbles
- Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Add the butternut squash to a bowl, and drizzle the oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper on top. Toss to combine, coating the squash.
- Arrange the butternut squash in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender and fragrant, stirring twice.
- Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl or sealable jar, add the ingredients for the salad dressing (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, garlic, salt, and pepper), and whisk until smooth.
- In a large bowl, add the arugula, mixed greens, apples, roasted butternut squash, pecans, goat cheese, and cranberries. Pour the dressing on top.
- Toss to combine, making sure the ingredients are well coated with the dressing.
Can the squash be made a day ahead?
Yes! You can just heat in the microwave or oven before putting together!