Rich autumn flavors and rustic warm colors make this roasted Butternut Squash Salad a favorite choice for a healthy fall salad! Caramelized bites of squash, sweet cranberries, feta cheese crumbles, and crunchy pecans top a bed of baby spinach, tenderized kale, or your favorite greens.
One of the best parts of this roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cranberries may be the smallest.
No--it's not the little pieces of tenderized kale. It's not the feta crumbles. It's not even the sweet little cranberries.
What is it? It's those crispy edges on the tiny cubes of oven-roasted butternut squash!
🍁 Fall salads are delicious
Incorporating vegetables and fruit that are in season makes a nice change from summer salads. Winter salads, like these 15 Best Winter Salad Recipes can be just as colorful and nutritious as summer salads!
For example, this Roasted Sweet Potato Spinach Salad with Maple Walnuts and Bacon has irresistible flavors.
Other favorites of mine (and my readers) are this Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad with Cranberries and Arugula Pear and Parmesan Salad with Maple Walnuts!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Crispy bits! This Butternut Squash Salad is also hard to resist! Caramelizing butternut squash by roasting it in the oven brings out its mellow flavor and natural sweetness. It creates tasty, crusty bits to search out and savor!
- Healthy greens. Nestled in a bed of either baby spinach, mixed greens, or tenderized kale, and topped with sweetened cranberries and salty feta cheese, this is a healthy salad for a fall or winter dinner.
- Leftovers? Perfect for lunch the following day!
- But there's more! Tucked in among all that deliciousness is your choice of Caramel Spiced Pecans or Low-Carb Roasted Pumpkin Spice Pecans. These sweet and crunchy nuts add the final special touches to this fall salad.
- Best homemade dressing! Tossing it all together and then drizzling it with my favorite Honey-Lemon Dijon Dressing enhances the hearty flavor of this comforting Butternut Squash Salad even more.
When Fall creeps in, it's time to toast the beginning of a new season with a glass of Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria and this wholesome Butternut Squash Salad with cranberries, salty feta, and sweet pecans!
Here's what you'll need to make this healthy fall salad. Make it for dinner, or for a packable lunch. It's also great as a potluck offering as it stays fresh!
- butternut squash: you'll need 2 cups, cubed
- greens: your choice: Baby spinach, mixed greens, or kale: Lacinato kale, (also known as Dinosaur, Black Kale or Tuscan Kale) is my favorite variety for salads. See below for how to tenderize the kale. You'll need one bunch.
- cranberries: dried, sweetened
- feta cheese: crumbled, for that salty flavour
- pecans: try my Caramel Spiced Pecans or Low-Carb Roasted Pumpkin Spice Pecans with this salad. Delicious!
- Honey-Dijon Dressing: olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, honey, Dijon mustard. An easy dressing to whisk together!
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make this spinach or kale salad with butternut squash. Complete instructions are in the recipe card below.
- First, whisk the dressing ingredients, then set aside to allow flavors to blend while you make the salad.
- Next, cut the squash, season, and then roast in the oven (or in your air fryer.)
- Meanwhile, wash and dry your greens, or prepare the kale, massaging it to tenderize it.
- Arrange the spinach, greens, or kale in a serving bowl, and top with roasted squash, cranberries, feta, and spiced pecans.
- Drizzle or toss with Honey-Lemon Dijon dressing and serve.
👍🏼 How to cut butternut squash
- The first thing you'll want to do is remove thin slices from both the top (stem end) and the base of your squash. Removing these parts gives you a firm base to stand your butternut upright to make it easier to peel. Peel it in long strips from one end to the other using a vegetable peeler.
- Next, cut through the "neck" of the squash, the point where it widens. (This one in the photo didn't have a noticeable neck.) Slice the neck in half from top to bottom, the slice into half-moons about ¾ inch thick.
- Remove the seeds from the squash with a spoon, and slice this part into rounds in the same way.
- To make cubes, slice the half-moons into strips about ¾ inch wide and then crosswise into cubes. Obviously, you won't have perfect cubes, as the squash is round!
🍽 What to serve with butternut squash salad
This fall salad makes a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving table, but it's also an easy salad to make for any fall or winter dinner. Here are a few main dishes that will pair well with this salad.
- Air Fryer Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breasts: perfect for a small gathering, or when you don't want to roast a whole turkey.
- Easy Baked Lemon Chicken: a classic chicken dish that really is easy!
- Harvest Chicken with Bacon and Rosemary: a perfect choice for fall.
- One Pan Spiced Chicken with Apples and Bacon: sweet, smoky, tender, and juicy!
- Crustless Zucchini Carrot Quiche: an easy weeknight meal or a brunch favorite.
- Easy Crustless Tomato Pie: Made with fresh tomatoes, cheese, eggs, onions, and herbs, this easy tomato pie needs no crust!
❓Frequently asked questions
🔁 Possible variations
- use a base of baby spinach, romaine, or mixed greens instead of kale
- substitute goat cheese for the feta cheese
- keep it vegan by omitting the cheese
- add Maple-Glazed Walnuts or Low-Carb Roasted Pumpkin Spice Pecans or 20-Minute Caramel Spiced Pecans
- Substitute Easy Maple Balsamic Dressing for Honey-Lemon Dijon Dressing
Refrigerate leftovers promptly, as bacteria can start to form in room-temperature food after a couple of hours.
This salad will last several days in the fridge. Keep it tightly covered in an airtight container and enjoy it for lunch or as a side for dinner!
🌟 Did you make this recipe?
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Butternut Squash Salad with Cranberries and Feta
- 2 cups Butternut squash, cubed
- 4 teaspoon olive oil extra virgin, divided
- ¼ tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 bunch Lacinato (Tuscan) kale or 6 cups baby spinach or mixed greens
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup Caramel Spiced Pecans or Pumpkin Spice Pecans
Honey-Lemon Dijon Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil, extra virgin
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar, or Champagne vinegar
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ tsp each salt and pepper
- Whisk the dressing ingredients first, then set aside to allow flavours to blend while you make the salad.
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Cut Butternut squash into small bite-sized cubes. Place in a medium bowl and toss with 2 teaspoon of the olive oil and salt and pepper until well-coated. Heat a baking sheet in the oven, brush or spray lightly with oil, then arrange squash cubes so they are spaced apart. Roast for 15 minutes or more, turning half way through, or until squash is beginning to brown, and is fork-tender. Remove from oven.
- Meanwhile, remove inner ribs from kale leaves and finely chop. Transfer to a bowl and massage with the remaining 2 teaspoon olive oil.
- Arrange in a serving bowl, top with roasted squash, cranberries, feta and caramel spiced pecans. Drizzle or toss with Honey-Lemon Dijon dressing and serve.