This Roasted Butternut Squash Salad has all of the key ingredients to an incredible tasting salad. Tender roasted and lightly seasoned roasted butternut squash, toasted nuts and seeds (for crunch factor), creamy goat cheese and massaged kale to deliver all of the tasty bits on. All drizzled in the perfect lemon dijon mustard dressing.
Whether you're making this butternut squash salad recipe for a special occasion or for an incredibly delicious work lunch, this salad covers all bases. I am a firm believer that salad can be eaten year round. This delicious Winter salad is perfect to be eaten for as something as everyday as a work lunch, yet beautiful enough to be served on the holiday dinner table.
Now a salad lover will find this healthy salad perfectly suitable as a main meal, alongside their favourite protein. But of course it can be served up as a side dish, as part of a beautiful spread. If making this salad as a side dish then you should also make my Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Salad and my Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad. This delicious salad was also inspired by my Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad, which has been one of my most popular recipes.
What You'll Love About This Salad
- perfect to meal prep - this butternut squash and kale salad is perfect to meal prep, as kale lasts really well when tossed with salad dressing, for at least 3 days in the fridge. It's delicious served as a main course along with your favourite protein.
- healthy fall salad - this delicious fall and Winter salad is healthy and highly nutritious, filled with vitamin A, betacarotene, magnesium, calcium and B vitamins.
- the perfect holiday salad - I love this salad anytime but it is so beautiful that it really is the perfect addition to the Christmas or Thanksgiving table.
Ingredients Notes & Substitutions
This colorful salad is made using easy-to-find, simple ingredients. I was able to find all of these ingredients at my local grocery store. See a list of the seasonal fall produce and ingredients as well as any notes or possible substitutions below. The ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- curly kale - curly kale is one of the best kale varieties to use in salads. In this recipe I recommend to massage the kale as this tenderises the leaves, making them easier to digest and more tasty. Kale in this recipe can be swapped for other salad greens such as baby spinach.
- butternut squash - I love butternut squash in this recipe but you could also use sweet potato (kumara) or kent pumpkin in its place.
- extra virgin olive oil - extra virgin olive oil is minimally processed and highly nutritious, which is why I always opt for it in my recipes. You can also use another mild flavoured oil like avocado oil if desired.
- sweet paprika
- garlic powder - you can also use onion powder in place of garlic powder.
- sea salt flakes - I love using crunchy sea salt flakes, however you can also finely ground sea salt, just use a little less.
- pepitas - also known as pumpkin seeds. You can also swap the pepitas for sunflower seeds.
- raw pecans - the crunchy pecans add a delicious layer of texture to this salad. Other nuts you can use are walnuts, toasted pine nuts,
- red onion - I love red onion in this recipe and quick picking it in apple cider vinegar and maple helps to take out the peppery bite, and increases its sweetness. You can have a similar effect and taste with thinly sliced radish.
- apple cider vinegar - apple cider vinegar (with the mother) has health benefits like providing beneficial bacteria. You can also use white cooking vinegar for pickling the onion, I personally prefer apple cider vinegar.
- pure maple syrup - you can also use honey, brown sugar or rapadura sugar.
- goats feta - if you aren't a fan of goats feta or you can't source it then you can also use regular feta cheese.
- dried cranberries - alternatively you can use raisins or pomegranate seeds.
For the Dressing:
For the dressing I have used my Lemon Dijon Dressing. The ingredients you will need are:
- lemon juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- dijon mustard
- sea salt flakes
- honey (or pure maple syrup)
- cracked black pepper (optional)
How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
There are a few steps involved in making this salad but I promise you it is really easy to make. Follow my step-by-step guide for best results.
First, prepare the butternut squash.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (356 Fahrenheit). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Remove the ends from the butternut squash and slice in half lengthways. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and then carefully remove the skin with a sharp knife or peeler. Cut the squash into cubes and then place onto the lined tray.
Season the squash with the paprika, salt and garlic powder. Drizzle in olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Place the butternut squash into the oven to roast for one hour. If you would prefer to air fry the butternut squash then you can read my post on Roasted Butternut Squash in the Air Fryer. Or for more detailed information on roasting butternut squash see my post on How to Make Butternut Squash in the Oven.
Make the Quick Pickled Onions
While the butternut squash cubes are roasting, prepare the quick pickled onions. To a small bowl add the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and warm water. Stir to combine and then add the finely sliced red onions. Mix the onions through the liquid and set aside. Come back to mix the onions every 15 minutes are so.
Make the Salad Dressing
Next, prepare the salad dressing. Add the dijon mustard, olive oil, honey or maple syrup, sea salt, cracked black pepper and lemon juice to a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Massage the Kale
Now, it's time to massage the kale. Add the roughly chopped kale to a large salad bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Using clean hands, massage the oil into the kale until the kale is soft and tender.
Toast the Nuts & Seeds
When the butternut squash has about 5 minutes to go, place the seeds and pecans into a baking tray and into the oven. Bake for 5 minutes or until toasted.
Once the butternut squash has finished roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before assembling the salad.
To assemble the salad, add the roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, toasted pecans and pepitas and feta to the kale. Spoon the onion out of the liquid and into the salad. Drizzle with the salad dressing and toss to combine.
This salad is best stored in a glass airtight container or in the salad bowl covered with compostable plastic wrap or a beeswax wrap, in the fridge for up to 3 days. If meal prepping, divide salad among 4 individual airtight containers.
- Vegan - to make this recipe vegan, simple use maple syrup instead of honey in the salad dressing and swap the goats feta for a vegan feta.
- Chopping Board
- Sharp knife
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Large salad bowl
- 2 Small Bowls
- Sheet pan
- Parchment paper
Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1.4 kg butternut squash seeds and skin removed, cubed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Cracked black pepper optional
Toasted Nuts & Seeds
- ¼ cup Pumpkin seeds
- ⅓ cup Pecans
- 4 cups kale stems removed, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium red onion
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 90 grams goats feta cheese
- ¼ cup Dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (356 Fahrenheit). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove the ends from the butternut squash. Slice in half lengthways and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut the butternut squash into cubes.
- Place the cubes onto the tray and top with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder and salt. Toss to coat and spread out evenly across the tray.
- Place the tray into the oven and roast for 1 hour.
- While the butternut squash is roasting, prepare the quick pickled onions. Add the warm water, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup to a small bowl. Stir to combine, add the thinly sliced red onions and stir again. Set aside and come back to stir every 15 minutes or so.
- Next, make the salad dressing by adding the olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey and salt to a small bowl and whisking to combine.
- Add the roughly chopped kale to a large salad bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and using clean hands, massage the oil into the kale.
- When the butternut squash has ten minutes to go, place the pecans and pepitas into a baking tray and into the oven for 5 minutes or until toasted. Keep an eye on them so that they don't burn.
- Once the butternut squash is roasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- To assemble the salad add the roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, feta, toasted nuts and seeds and quick pickled onions to the kale. Drizzle in lemon dijon dressing and toss to combine.