Roasted Butternut Squash Salad – loaded with dried cranberries, pecans and crumbled goat cheese. This salad is big on flavor and makes the perfect addition to your holiday table!
When it comes to bringing food for a holiday meal, I’m most likely bringing salad. Probably because it’s something I love to eat, and I love the freshness of it when all the other options are so heavy. In my mind, it’s one of the most important parts of the holiday meal!
Well, I’ve come to learn that I’m pretty much the only one who feels that way. Most people see salad as “filler”… aka the LAST thing you need on an already packed Thanksgiving menu. Sure, people might eat a little bit out of guilt or obligation, but let’s be honest. No one’s writing home about it.
And even though I know it’s true, there’s something in me that’s bound and determined to change that. Like if I can just bring the right salad, they’ll get it! And I’m feeling certain my Roasted Butternut Squash Salad will be it.
what you’ll need for this recipe
Mixed greens – I used mixed greens as the base of this salad. My favorite is a 50/50 mix of spinach and spring mix, but you can use any type of greens you prefer.
Butternut squash – Butternut squash is the star of the show and a delicious addition to this salad. I used 2 cups of cubed, roasted butternut squash.
Olive oil & brown sugar – I used a simple combination of olive oil and brown sugar to coat the butternut squash before roasting. The brown sugar caramelizes while it’s roasting, creating a deliciously sweet and sticky coating on the squash.
Pecans – Pecans pair beautifully with the butternut squash and other fall ingredients in this salad. I added them to the roasting pan for 5 minutes to toast and flavor them.
Dried cranberries – Dried cranberries, or Craisins, add an element of sweetness to this salad. You can feel free to dried cherries or golden raisins if you prefer.
Goat cheese – Goat cheese is the perfect earthy, creamy cheese for this salad. I used crumbled goat cheese, which can be found in the specialty cheese section at your local grocery store.
Green onions – Green onions add a touch of extra flavor to this salad. I chose green because of their mild flavor, but you could substitute red onions as well.
Vinaigrette – I made a simple maple mustard vinaigrette using olive oil, maple syrup, whole grain mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. You can feel free to use your favorite store bought dressing if you’re short on time!
how to roast butternut squash
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel squash.
- Cut off top and bottom; cut squash in half lengthwise.
- Remove seeds and cut into cubes.
- Season as desired.
- Spread squash on rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400° 15-20 minutes.
how to make butternut squash salad
- Prepare squash & pecans according to recipe (see above for how to roast butternut squash).
- Let squash cool.
- Assemble salad by combining mixed greens, squash mixture, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and green onions.
- Prepare vinaigrette in a small container with a lid. Shake well.
- Pour dressing over salad just before serving.
Make Ahead Tip
To make this salad in advance, I would recommend roasting the butternut squash and pecans according to recipe instructions, and then refrigerating them until ready to use. You may want to bring them back to room temperature before serving. You can also assemble the rest of the salad in advance; however, I would recommend waiting to add the butternut squash and the vinaigrette until just before serving.
how to store leftovers
Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. dNOTE: Once you have added vinaigrette to the salad, it will really only last 1 day in the refrigerator. If you plan to have leftovers, you may want to serve the salad separately and allow guests to add their own dressing as desired.
- Use any of your favorite types of lettuce
- Add sliced apples or pears
- Add crumbled bacon for even more delicious savory flavor
- Substitute shaved Parmesan, shredded Swiss cheese or crumbled feta for the goat cheese
- Use walnuts or pine nuts in place of pecans
- Substitute your favorite store bought dressing for the maple mustard vinaigrette
more butternut squash recipes
If you’re looking for even more ways to use butternut squash, these are some of our favorites:
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash Lasagna
- Butternut Squash Stuffing
- Maple Bacon Roasted Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Butternut Squash Crostini
Round out your holiday meal with any (or all) of these delicious recipes!
- Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast
- Garlic Herb Cheesy Potatoes
- Parmesan Roasted Green Beans
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Mini Pecan Pies
- 10 ounces mixed greens
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 cup pecans
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 2 green onions, sliced
Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup whole grain mustard
- 6 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine squash, brown sugar, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil.
- Spread on rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400° for 15 minutes. Add pecans and roast for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on pan.
- Assemble salad by topping mixed greens with squash, pecans, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and green onions.
- Drizzle with maple mustard vinaigrette as desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 4gSugar: 19gProtein: 4g