I’m big on eating seasonally, and I look forward to this butternut squash salad all year long. This is one of those dishes that begs you to load up the perfect bite on your fork. You have to get that roasted spiced butternut squash for the deep, earthy flavors. Then you need the tang of the goat cheese, the chewy sweetness of the cranberries and the salty crunch of the pecans. The tart sweetness of the apple cider vinegar dressing seals the deal, with the slightly spinach the perfect foil for those fall flavors.
While those big butternut squashes might look gorgeous, they are a true pain to break down. I like to cut myself a break once in a while and grab a couple bags of pre-cut squash from the grocery store when they’re available. Cheers to making life easier!
Once your squash is cut into bite-sized pieces, this salad comes together pretty quickly. The roasting takes the longest, but your kitchen will smell amazing. Then you just need to whisk your dressing and assemble the salad – no more chopping required.
Butternut Squash Salad
- 2 pounds butternut squash, cored, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (see note)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 12 ounces fresh spinach
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- 4 ounces pecans, candied or roasted and salted, roughly chopped
- 4 ounces dried cranberries
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Toss squash with oil and seasonings. Line two baking sheets with foil, and spread squash evenly over the two pans, ensuring the squash isn’t crowded. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring with a spatula halfway through. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- While squash is cooling, combine dressing ingredients by whisking in a bowl or shaking in a jar.
- Assemble salad by tossing squash with remaining ingredients in large bowl, and pour dressing over salad immediately before serving.
This butternut squash salad was inspired by the lovely harvest salad from Cherry on My Sundae. Still hungry? Have some soup with your salad: spicy sausage Tuscan soup and potato leek soup are perfect accompaniments. Thirsty? Try this ginger hot toddy.