This Roasted Butternut Squash Salad has it all! Tender, golden butternut squash, gourmet salad greens, pomegranate arils, goat cheese, walnuts and pepitas. Packed with flavor and served up with a crave-worthy pomegranate apple cider dressing that you will absolutely love.
Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Is there anything roasted butternut squash can’t be? I’ve seen it (and made it myself) in soups, casseroles, sheet pan dinners, entrees, sides, you name it! At this point, I’d believe you if you told me it could cure the common cold.
Here’s yet another way to use the simple, yet beloved butternut squash: salad! That’s right, in this recipe we’ll be making a lovely salad somewhat like a salade composee, using a variety of delicious ingredients arranged on a platter of greens, and lightly dressed with a homemade pomegranate dressing.
If you’d like, feel free to redesign this salad. You could use a different type of squash, for example, or make additions and substitutions to the other ingredients depending on what’s fresh, on hand, or simply a favorite ingredient. I’ll have some more suggestions about that below!
Is Butternut Squash Good for You?
Butternut squash is absolutely a good-for-you ingredient! Like other winter squash, it’s high in fiber, which is helpful for digestive health. It also contains vitamin A, B, C, and E, as well as magnesium, calcium, and zinc.
And, it counts toward your daily veggie and fruit intake, which is always a good thing! 👍
There are three components that go into this butternut squash salad, but don’t let that overwhelm you! It’s all really easy to make. Just roast the squash, mix up the dressing, and lay it all out on a platter or salad bowl.
For the Squash
- Butternut Squash: This is the star of the show! You’ll want a one-pound butternut squash for this salad, peeled and diced into one-inch cubes. Alternatively, you can peel and cut it into thin slices.
- Olive Oil: I usually drizzle whatever veggie I’m roasting with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
- Maple Syrup: This brings out the flavor of the squash, and helps it to brown in the oven.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste.
For the Salad
- Salad Greens: I use about six cups of mixed greens, along with two extra cups of baby arugula because it’s just delicious. You can use whatever salad greens you like, though!
- Pomegranate Arils: I like to buy these tasty little gems ready-to-eat, but you can also seed a couple of whole fresh pomegranates. A medium-sized pomegranate contains about one cup of arils.
- Pepitas: Pepitas are pumpkin seeds with no outer hull, and they are absolutely scrumptious. You only need about half a cup for this recipe, although you could certainly add more.
- Walnuts: I use half a cup of walnut pieces in this recipe. I often chop my own walnut halves for my dishes because I find that pre-chopped walnut pieces sometimes don’t taste quite as fresh.
- Goat Cheese: You’ll need 3 to 4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese.
For the Dressing
- Olive Oil: You’ll need ¼ of a cup of good oil. I usually use extra virgin olive oil. The most flavorful oils will say “first cold pressing” on the label.
- Pomegranate Juice: About ¼ cup pomegranate juice will do it. You can also save the juice from your pomegranates (or from the ready-to-eat-arils container).
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This tasty vinegar really brings a lot of flavor and needed acidity to the table!
- Dijon Mustard: I. Love. Dijon mustard. It mixes well into almost any vinaigrette or dressing, and gives a rich, deep, irreplaceable taste.
- Honey: Just a bit, about half of a tablespoon, to give a touch of sweetness.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
As I mentioned before, there’s a number of ingredients here, but assembling them is easy! Once you’ve roasted the squash and mixed up the vinaigrette, you just arrange or toss the ingredients on a large platter.
Try to get an attractive, even distribution of the ingredients on and in the salad greens. I like to have all of the ingredients throughout the salad, rather than grouped individually, so that it’s easy to take a portion and get some of everything. But either way is fine!
For the Butternut Squash Salad
- Roast Squash: Preheat your oven to 425˚F and line a baking sheet with foil. Transfer the squash to the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil and maple syrup. Finally, season with salt and pepper, and roast for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Assemble Salad: Arrange the mixed greens and arugula on a large salad plate. To the salad greens, add pomegranate arils, pepitas and walnut halves. Set aside.
For the Pomegranate Dressing
- Combine Ingredients: Combine the olive oil, pomegranate juice, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small jar or bowl.
- Mix: Shake or whisk the dressing ingredients to combine. Taste and adjust accordingly.
- Top Salad: Drizzle your dressing over the salad.
- Add prepared squash and goat cheese; gently toss to combine, and serve.
Tips for Success
Whether you want to change up the ingredients in your salad or just want some tricks and tips for making it, read on!
- Substitutions: So many options here, you guys! You could use just about any winter squash, from acorn to delicata. You could use raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, chopped apple, or grape halves instead of the pomegranate arils. Any salad greens that you enjoy would play well here, as would any type of nuts and seeds, from pecan halves to sunflower seeds. You can use brown sugar instead of syrup, agave nectar for the honey, and the list goes on and on! Ultimately? You do you, friend!
- Choose the Best Squash: Winter squash should be firm, heavy, and free from excessive scars or scrapes. The rind should be pale and have a matte finish, rather than a shiny appearance.
- Add Protein: If you would like to add some extra protein to this dish, it goes wonderfully with cold cooked chicken, hard-boiled eggs, rolls or strips of deli meat like turkey, ham, or roast beef, or even crumbles of bacon!
- ADJUST TO TASTE! I can’t stress this enough. Some people like a saltier salad dressing, others like a sweeter salad, and then there’s those that like a bit more seasonings and spice. When a salad tastes a bit bland to me, I find that adding a little more salt will usually take care of that problem.
Butternut squash salad makes a great light lunch or dinner on its own, but it also pairs well with plenty of other dishes. Build the ultimate feel-good meal by serving it with one of these!
- Soup: Soup and salad is my favorite lunch. To balance the many flavors in this salad, I would serve a simple Chicken Noodle Soup. It supplies carbs from the noodles, protein from the chicken, and just tastes comforting.
- Roast Pork: This complex salad has a sweet and savory flavor profile that goes wonderfully with roast pork. Try my Instant Pot Garlic Pork Tenderloin for an easy take on the classic!
- Chicken: Whip up some simple Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu! The meltingly delicious entree will contrast the fresh, fruity flavors of the salad just perfectly.
How to Store Leftovers
- If planning to have this salad later, store the dressing separate from the salad greens, fruits, and nuts. Combine when ready to serve.
- To store leftovers, place them in a large, roomy airtight container so that the ingredients don’t get crushed. Use within 24 hours for best results.
- Store extra dressing separately in a small jar or airtight container for up to four days.