Butternut Squash Salad
This simple butternut squash salad is loaded with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, Gorgonzola cheese and almonds, all tossed together in a flavorful Orange Cinnamon Vinaigrette. A fresh and colorful salad that pairs perfectly with chicken, fish and pork! This salad can easily be made ahead and adapted to paleo, vegan and gluten-free diets.
You can never go wrong with a tasty salad to accompany any meal, some of my favorites include my go-to Italian salad, Winter Salad with Toasted Pecan Vinaigrette, and this sweet and savory butternut squash salad.
Ingredients For Butternut Squash Salad
Butternut squash is one of my favorite veggies to enjoy this time of year. It’s considered to be a nutritional superstar, and it happens to be pretty delicious too! My top two favorite ways to enjoy butternut squash is in this Butternut Squash Soup and this yummy butternut squash salad. This salad is full of different flavors, textures and vibrant colors. It will have everyone coming back for seconds.
Romaine + spring mix are my favorite salad greens. You can use all spring mix or even fresh baby spinach. I’m not much of a kale fan, but that would totally work too.
Pomegranate seeds add a beautiful color and delicious fruity crunch to the salad. Feel free to substitute them with dried cranberries or another dried fruit, if they’re not really your thing or if you have trouble finding them.
Sliced almonds or chopped pecans are always a great addition to tossed salad. I used sliced almonds, here, because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to use any favorite seed or nut variety or even a combination of two types.
Gorgonzola cheese is one of my favorite cheeses to add to salads! I just love the flavor, but you could also sub feta or goat cheese, or omit if you need a vegan friendly recipe.
Now for the dressing…
You can serve your salad with any favorite dressing or vinaigrette, but I highly suggest you give the homemade Orange Cinnamon Vinaigrette a try. It’s super simple and quick to stir together and compliments this salad so well. You just need:
- orange juice
- olive oil
- maple syrup
Now, let’s get down to business and talk details about how to put all of these ingredients together for the BEST butternut squash salad!
How Do You Make A Delicious Butternut Squash Salad?
The first step for making this flavorful salad recipe is to roast the butternut squash. While the butternut squash is roasting, I like to make the orange cinnamon vinaigrette. You can also use this time to prepare all of the other ingredients, like measuring out the greens, cheese, seeds and nuts.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO PREPARE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH?
- Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray and preheat the oven to 400° F.
- If you did not buy pre-cut squash, you’ll need to dice it up. Slice off both ends and then peel the squash. Cut the squash in half, vertically.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the squash into even 1/2 to 1-inch cubes. It’s a good idea to cut the pieces all the same size, so the squash will cook evenly. If a visual tutorial might help with cutting the squash, check out this helpful guide (video included).
- Evenly spread the cubed squash on a large sheet pan and spray with cooking spray or toss in olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
- Cook the squash for about 20 minutes and until tender, but not overly soft and mushy.
- Feel free to use your preferred amounts for the ingredients. When I make salads, I like to use the amount that feels right as I go. For example, gorgonzola cheese can be a bit strong, so I go light with it and I love pomegranate seeds, so I add plenty to mine. Add in more of what you love and if you think of another ingredient that you want to include, by all means, make this salad your own.
- Most grocery stores sell pre-cut butternut squash and I would definitely take advantage. You might want to make the cubes smaller, but it will still save you lots of time.
- This homemade orange cinnamon vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days in advance. Just store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
- Once prepared, this butternut squash salad is best served immediately.
I LOVE this salad just the way it is, but feel free to get creative and change up the ingredients.
- Nuts: Try walnuts, pine nuts or pumpkin seeds instead of almonds or pecans. You could also try using candied pecans. Yum!
- Lettuce: You can use any favorite greens. Many times I use all spring mix for my salad.
- Cheese: Feel free to use feta, goat cheese, blue cheese or shaved Parmesan cheese instead of gorgonzola cheese.
- Mix-ins: There are a variety of other ingredients that would be amazing in this salad. Great options are dried cranberries, thin slices of apple or pear, sliced red onion, roasted Brussels sprouts or cherry tomatoes. You can even swap out the butternut squash for roasted sweet potato.
- Protein: Make this salad a satisfying meal by adding grilled chicken, shrimp or fish on top.
- Grains: Give this salad a boost of heartiness by adding leftover cooked grains, such as brown rice or quinoa
This butternut squash salad is light and refreshing, yet packed with flavorful and hearty ingredients. It’s the perfect side dish for any meal and it pairs well with most proteins. All of the ingredients come together for the best butternut squash salad that offers sweet and savory soft bites of squash, a little extra sweetness from the dressing and pomegranate, the perfect amount of saltiness from the gorgonzola and a little crunch from almonds. Enjoy!
If you try this butternut squash salad recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Butternut Squash Salad
FOR THE SALAD:
- 20 ounces cubed butternut squash, (about 4 cups)
- Cinnamon and sea salt to sprinkle on squash before roasting
- 2-3 heads of romaine + spring mix salad for added color
- Pomegranate seeds
- Sliced almonds or chopped pecans
- Gorgonzola crumbled cheese
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place cubed squash on the baking sheet and spray squash with cooking spray. Sprinkle cinnamon and sea salt over the squash. Roast for approximately 30 mins.
- Meanwhile, chop greens and place them plus pom seeds, nuts and cheese in a large serving bowl and set aside.
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a lid by shaking vigorously.
- Once squash has cooled some, add it to the salad bowl, drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION will vary depending on the amount you use of each ingredient and how the salad is divided. I calculated nutritional info using 1/4 cup pom seeds, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese and all of the vinaigrette.
MAKE IT VEGAN: Leave off the cheese or use a dairy-free substitute. Photos by Danielle from Our Salty Kitchen.