If you love a delicious seasonal fall salad, then this salad is for you! This hearty Autumn Butternut Squash Salad features roasted butternut squash, tender baby greens, toasty pecans, and sweet dried cranberries. Then I add in some tangy feta cheese and crumbled bacon and toss it all with a flavorful homemade maple vinaigrette. It’s a perfect salad to savor the flavors of fall, and I hope it will become one of your new fall favorites. And if you love a fresh, seasonal salad, check out my recipe for Cherry Pecan Broccoli Salad.
Salads can be so much more than lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. While a classic salad with tomatoes and cucumbers is perfect for a hot summer day, during the fall and winter, I crave something more satisfying and substantial. That’s why I love incorporating hearty produce like winter squashes that are in season. There are so many delicious ways to make a salad more filling and satisfying.
This simple butternut squash salad is perfect for a fresh side dish at a holiday dinner, but it’s also simple and easy enough to make for an easy weeknight meal. You can make this meal even easier by prepping ahead and roasting the squash cubes a day or two ahead of time.
What are the ingredients for Butternut Squash Salad?
The ingredients for this Autumn Butternut Squash Salad are simple:
Roasted Butternut Squash – This is the star of the show. The roasted squash gives the salad its sweet, nutty flavor and creamy texture.
Mixed Greens – I like to use baby greens, because I like their tenderness, but you can use any type of greens you can prefer. Baby romaine, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or Bibb lettuce are some of my favorites. Most supermarkets will sell a premade mix of baby greens.
Toasted Pecans – The toasted pecans add a bit of crunch in addition to a toasty, nutty flavor that pairs well with the squash. You can substitute chopped, toasted walnuts, almonds, or even hazelnuts.
Dried Cranberries – The cranberries add a pop of tart sweetness that balances out the other flavors.
Crumbled Feta Cheese – Butternut squash salad with feta might sound strange but it’s a delicious pairing. The feta gives the salad a salty tang that goes perfectly with the sweet, roasted butternut squash. You can use pre-crumbled feta, or crumble a block of feta yourself.
Crumbled Bacon – Another flavor bomb. Use pork, turkey, chicken bacon, or whatever type of bacon you prefer. For a vegetarian butternut squash salad, you can omit the bacon, or use vegetarian bacon or smoked tempeh.
Maple Syrup – I like to add real maple syrup to my homemade vinaigrette for a bit of sweetness. If you don’t have maple syrup, you can substitute honey or a bit of sugar. You can also omit it altogether.
Tips for making the salad:
- Use fresh, ripe butternut squash. The squash should be firm and have a deep orange color.
- Peel and cube the butternut squash into 1-inch pieces. For a shortcut, many grocery stores carry pre-chopped fresh or frozen butternut squash.
- To keep the butternut squash from getting watery, roast it until it is just tender. Over-roasting will make it mushy.
- Let the roasted butternut squash cool slightly before assembling the salad.
- Choose a variety of greens for your salad. I prefer tender greens for the salad. Some good options include leaf lettuce, spinach, baby kale, or baby romaine lettuce, and arugula.
- You can choose to toss the salad with the dressing before serving or serve it on the side.