If you pick one salad to make on repeat this fall, let it be our Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. This fall-forward salad is packed with roasted butternut squash and beets, speckled with creamy goat cheese, crunchy pepita seeds and hand-torn pieces of salty prosciutto. We toss everything in a sweet and savory pumpkin vinaigrette and dig in.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
While fall does indeed call for cozy soups, indulgent pastas and hearty main courses, we shouldn’t leave salads behind. Because with incessant indulging happening in our near future we’re going to need to balance it out with a healthy dose of leafy greens. Swapping out our favorite summer Butter Lettuce Salad for our heartier more fall-forward Roasted Butternut Squash Salad is my way of transitioning into fall with just a small toe dip.
Still light and healthy but slightly more filling, this easy fall salad is packed with some of my favorite fall ingredients. First we roast simply seasoned butternut squash and fresh beets alongside each other until they’re sweet and caramelized.
While that’s going, we whip up a quick pumpkin puree vinaigrette you’ll want to bottle up and save for all your salads from now until spring. Pumpkin and dijon mustard give the dressing a savory undertone but hints of maple and balsamic vinaigrette sweeten it up in a perfect balance of flavors.
Also prominent in the toppings lineup is a plethora of creamy goat cheese, crunchy pepita seeds and torn bits of salty prosciutto. We toss all the ingredients with a mix of chopped kale and peppery arugula and serve!
The perfect fall salad.
Ingredients in Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Veggies. The namesake of this salad is a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad however it could easily be a roasted butternut squash and beet salad as we use an equal amount of the two vegetables.
Cheese. You could use a number of cheeses here but I’m partial to a creamy goat cheese. We use plain but an herb or even honey goat cheese would be really lovely.
Meat. This salad can double up as an entree salad with the addition of salty prosciutto. I tear a few thin slices but you could add even more for a more filling salad.
Crunch. Every salad needs an element of crunch and since we’re already using pumpkin puree it only makes sense to use pepita seeds in the mix as well. You can usually find them in the produce section at the grocery store.
Greens. For hearty fall and winter salads I almost always use kale in some form. This version uses my favorite Lacinato or Tuscan kale. I find it to be a little less bitter than curly kale so it’s almost always my go-to.
I take plenty of help from the store but one thing you’ll never find within the contents of my fridge is a bottle of store-bought salad dressing. Whipping up a fresh dijon vinaigrette, simple caesar dressing or in today’s case, a pumpkin vinaigrette is super simple and mostly likely includes staple pantry ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
Pumpkin puree. I don’t know why I’ve never done it before but adding a pumpkin puree to a fall-inspired dressing is a game changer. Not only is it a little sweet and slightly savory but it adds a really nice thickness to the dressing so you don’t have to use as much olive oil.
Maple syrup. A lot of times I’ll use honey for salad dressing but in the fall and winter I like to swap it our for maple syrup since it has a deeper molasses flavor.
Balsamic vinegar. The thick sweetness of balsamic pairs really nicely with the maple syrup and pumpkin puree.
Dijon mustard. Dijon is almost always a staple in my salad dressings. It adds tanginess and is practically required when there’s balsamic vinegar involved.
Olive oil. Again since the pumpkin puree adds a thickness we don’t have to use as much olive oil to emulsify the dressing. Use an olive oil that isn’t too strong in flavor so the pumpkin and balsamic really shine through.
Let’s make Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Roasted the veggies. Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on half of a baking sheet. Do the same with the beets. Spread on the other half. Make sure to keep the two veggies separated so the beets don’t dye the butternut squash. You want to be able see those two contrasting colors in the final product.
Make the dressing. Whisk the pumpkin, maple syrup, dijon, balsamic vinegar and salt together. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Done!
Chop the greens. When it comes to kale, I prefer it to be chopped. Use a large knife to chop as finely as you’d like.
Toss! Once the veggies are done roasting be sure to let them cool completely. Add lettuce to a big salad bowl. Drizzle in a little bit of dressing and season with salt and pepper. Toss.
Add in most of the squash, beets, goat cheese, pepitas and prosciutto along with little more dressing. Toss. Add more dressing if you’d like. Toss the salad with the remaining veggies, cheese, pepitas and prosciutto. Serve!
Can I make this in advance?
Yes! Roast the veggies. Make the dressing. Chop the kale. Just before serving, toss everything together.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad is also pretty good leftover. Because kale is so hearty it tends to stand up to the dressing and lasts a day or two. It’s not AS good but still pretty decent.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- If you’re worried about staining your hands when you peel and chop the beets wear gloves. It doesn’t really bother me and comes off in a few washes.
- Make sure you spread the veggies out so they roast and don’t steam.
- Swap out the prosciutto for crispy pancetta bacon or diced salami.
- Creamy brie would be another great cheese to use instead of goat.
- Try pistachios instead of pepita seeds.
What to serve with Butternut Squash Salad
- The perfect complement to our butternut squash salad would be these Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apple Cider Cream Sauce.
- There is nothing more fall worthy than a roast chicken and ours is one of the best!
- Looking for something indulgent? This Creamy Chicken Gnocchi is like chicken pot pie meets chicken noodle soup. Soup yum.
Other hearty salads you’ll love
- 2 cups 1/2 inch cubed butternut squash (1 small squash)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups 1/2-inch cubed beets (peeled), 3 medium beets
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1/4 cup pumpkin
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp dijon
- 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 bunch tuscan kale (about 4 cups chopped)
- 2 cups arugula, roughly chopped
- 2 oz prosciutto
- 1/3 cup pepita seeds
- 4 oz goat cheese
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add squash and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with a little bit of black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine. Spread on half of prepared baking sheet.
- Add beets and another tablespoon of olive oil to the same bowl you tossed the squash in. Toss to coat the beets in the olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a little bit of freshly cracked black pepper. Toss to coat. Spread on the other half of the prepared baking sheet. Make sure the squash and beets are evenly spread out so they roast and don't steam.
- Place beets and squash in the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, toss with a spoon but make sure to keep each component on their own side of the pan. Place back in the oven and roast aanother 15 minutes. Let cool.
- While the veggies roast, make the dressing. Rinse the bowl you tossed the veggies in. Add the pumpkin, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and dijon mustard to the same bowl you tossed the squash and beets in. Whisk to combinen. Slowly whisk in remaining 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Massage the kale. Chop the kale finely. Add the kale and arugula to a large salad bowl. Toss to combine. Add a little bit of dressing. Toss. Add in moost of the pepita seeds, goat cheese, squash, beets and prosciutto. Toss to combine. Add more dressing as desired. Toss. Top the salad with leftover pepita seeds, goat cheese, squash, beets and torn prosciutto. Drizzle more dressing if desired. Serve immediately.