Butternut Squash Salad is the BEST salad to make with seasonal fall produce. Roasted butternut squash, sweet pears, tart dried cranberries, sharp feta, and a fresh Apple Cider Vinaigrette marry together to create a simple, healthy salad that is filled with robust flavors.
The Perfect Fall Salad
Butternut Squash Salad is the perfect way to highlight seasonal fall produce.
Sharp fresh greens, caramelized roasted butternut squash, juicy ripe pears, salty feta, tart cranberries, and toasted walnuts are tossed with a bright and tangy Homemade Apple Cider Salad Dressing.
This butternut squash salad is a masterpiece of flavors and textures. It is warm, cold, sweet, salty, bright, and fresh.
This salad is impressive enough to have a place on your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu. Yet is easy enough to prepare and serve with a weeknight meal.
What you Need
- Greens: Tender, baby greens are best for this salad. Use a spring mix, baby spinach, or even baby kale.
- Butternut Squash: Roasted butternut squash is the star of this salad. You can opt to use leftover roasted squash and add to the salad cold. Or prepare roasted squash right before preparing this salad. Just keep in mind you will want to cool the squash slightly before adding to your greens, so the greens do not wilt.
- Pears: Select ripe, yet firm pears. Bartlett, Bosc, or Red varieties are all good options.
- Feta Cheese: I love the salty contrast that the feta adds to this salad, but diced sharp cheddar also is a delicious option. And of course, omit the cheese altogether for a dairy-free salad.
- Nuts: Toasted walnut or almonds add a nice crunch and earthiness to the salad. Feel free to omit for allergies or sub out of candied nuts or honey-roasted peanuts.
- Dressing: A simple homemade Apple Cider Vinaigrette marries the flavors of this salad together. If needed, use maple syrup in place of the honey to keep the dressing Vegan-Friendly.
How to Prepare Butternut Squash Salad
Step One: Roast Butternut Squash
On a sheet pan, toss the cubed squash in oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until browned and fork-tender. Allow the squash to cool slightly before adding the greens.
Step Two: Prepare Apple Cider Dressing
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and set to the side.
Step Three: Toast Nuts
If your nuts are raw or untoasted, it is best to take the extra step to toast the nuts, as it brings out their best flavor.
Place the nuts into a dry skillet over medium heat. Heat for 2-3 minutes, tossing occasionally. Turn off the heat as soon as you begin to smell the nuts--it does NOT take long to toast nuts and you do not want to burn the nuts.
Step Four: Assemble Salad
Mix the greens with ¼ cup of the salad dressing. Top the greens with the Roasted Butternut Squash, pears, cranberries, and walnuts if using. Toss lightly. Serve with additional dressing on the side.
Preparing in Advance
This salad is best served immediately after assembling.
To prepare in advance, roast the squash, wash the greens, and prepare the dressing up to 3 days in advance and store in separate containers in the refrigerator. If needed, toast the nuts up to 3 days before serving as well. Let the nuts cool and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Right before serving, dice the pears, toss the greens with a small amount of the dressing, and then sprinkle the salad with the dried cranberries, roasted squash, feta, and nuts. Serve the remaining dressing on the side for people to use as desired.
- If serving to people with varied dietary preferences, I suggest placing the ingredients for this Butternut Squash Salad in separate bowls and allow people to assemble themselves. That way people can leave out the cheese or nuts if desired.
- Avoid overdressing the salad, by only tossing the greens with ¼ cup of the dressing. Serve the remaining dressing on the side of the salad.
More Butternut Squash Recipes
- Twice Baked Parmesan Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash Chili
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
If you tried this Butternut Squash Salad, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
For the Roasted Squash
- 2 cups butternut squash cubed into ½ inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Salad
- 5 ounces mixed baby greens
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 barlett pear, cubed into ½ inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped optional
For the Apple Cider Viniagrette
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Toss squash in oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until browned and fork-tender. Allow the squash to cool slightly before adding the greens.
- Mix together the apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, pepper together. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
- If your nuts are not already toasted, place them into a dry skillet over medium heat. Heat for 2-3 minutes, tossing occasionally. Turn off the heat as soon as you begin to smell the nuts.
- Mix the greens with ¼ cup of the salad dressing. Top the greens with the Roasted Butternut Squash, pears, cranberries, and walnuts if using. Toss lightly. Serve with additional dressing on the side.
- This salad is best served immediately after assembling.
- To prepare in advance, roast the squash, wash the greens, and prepare the dressing up to 3 days in advance and store in separate containers in the refrigerator. Right before serving, dice the pears, toss the greens with a small amount of the dressing, and then sprinkle the salad with the dried cranberries, roasted squash, feta, and nuts. Serve the remaining dressing on the side for people to use as desired.
- In place of feta, you can use goat cheese or sharp cheddar cheese. Or leave the cheese out altogether for a dairy-free salad.
- To make the Apple Cider Dressing vegan, substitute maple syrup for honey.
- The walnuts add a nice crunch to the salad, but omit for nut allergies, or use candied nuts or honey-roasted peanuts.
Originally published in August 2018, updated in 2020.
What a great fall salad! I don't always think of fall for salads...we're moving into soup weather here, but I really do love a good salad any time of year. This salad has such great autumnal flavors, and I love how it's more of a "hearty" salad and not so "light and bright" (although I love light and bright too). So perfect for fall!
I am so glad you enjoyed this salad Betsy! I understand what you mean by that it is a more "hearty salad"
All of the flavors go so well together! Really love the vinaigrette on top!
Thanks Suzy! The dressing really pulls the whole dish together!
What a beautiful fall salad! I love all of the flavors together!
Absolutely delicious! I made this last night...didn't have any cranberries, so left them out, and even with the omission, it was great! Everyone gobbled it up and commented on it. It is perfect for fall! I've bookmarked this one for the future! 🙂
Oh I am so glad you enjoyed Nancy! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review 🙂
Loving these seasonal salad recipes. Plus it's such a colorful and healthy salad! So tasty.
Thank you so much!
Vitamins and fall flavors filled salad. So healthy and delicious!
YAY! So glad you enjoyed Brandi