Thanksgiving Salad with Orange Cinnamon Vinaigrette
Move aside, mashed potatoes and creamed corn. This Thanksgiving salad recipe is so delicious, it will rival your favorite side dish! This simple fall-inspired salad is loaded with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, Gorgonzola cheese and almonds, all tossed together in a flavorful Orange Cinnamon Vinaigrette. This salad can easily be made ahead and adapted to paleo, vegan and gluten-free diets. A fresh and vibrant salad that’s the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or any occasion!
In my opinion a satisfying, hearty, tasty salad always has a place at the holiday table. You do need a light, healthier recipe to balance out all of the rich, heavy dishes… right? Go ahead and volunteer to bring salad to Thanksgiving dinner this year! This salad is so easy to throw together and it always gets rave reviews. My husband and I love this Roasted Butternut Squash Salad recipe so much that I make it all year!
Ingredients In This Fall Salad
First up is one of my favorite fall veggies – butternut squash! Butternut squash is considered to be a nutritional superstar, and it happens to be pretty delicious too! My top two favorite way to enjoy butternut squash is in this Butternut Squash Soup and this yummy butternut squash salad. This salad is full of different fall flavors, textures and vibrant colors. It will have everyone coming back for seconds.
Of course, you can serve the 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.
Now, lets talk about how to put all of these ingredients together for the BEST holiday salad!
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 salt and cinnamon.
- Cook the squash for about 30 minutes and until tender, but not overly soft and mushy.
Tips For Making This Thanksgiving Salad
I didn’t include measurements for all ingredients because, with salads, I like to use the amount that feels right as I go. For example, gorgonzola cheese is 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. Roasted Brussels sprouts would be a fabulous addition.
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.
Thanksgiving Salad Variations:
I LOVE this salad just the way it is, but feel free to get creative and change up the ingredients.
- Nuts: Try pecans, walnuts or pine nuts instead of almonds.
- Lettuce: You can use baby kale or spinach instead of romaine and mixed greens.
- Cheese: Feel free to use goat cheese, feta 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, thins slices of apple, 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 fall-inspired salad is light and refreshing, yet packed with flavorful and hearty ingredients. It is a great side salad for your holiday table, or you can add some protein and eat it as an everyday lunch or dinner.
Other Thanksgiving Recipes To Try:
If you try this fall 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.
- 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
- 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!
TIME SAVING TIP: You can find pre-cut butternut squash in the produce department of most grocery stores. I used two 10 oz. bags. Alternatively, cubed sweet potato would be equally delicious.
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.