Roasted Butternut Squash Salad is a hearty fall dish featuring tender baby spinach, earthy lentils, and a tangy Dijon mustard dressing. It's perfect as a filling lunch or colorful holiday side.
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A taste of fall
Nothing says autumn to me like butternut squash.
Maybe Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte is the official start of the fall season, but I'm all about the squash.
I love that it's easy to prepare, tastes delicious, and has a beautiful color.
Roasting it is my favorite way to cook it since it brings out the natural sweetness.
And when I want the vibrant orange veggie to be the star of the show, a Butternut Squash Vegan Buddha Bowl does the trick.
But for a tasty nutritious meal or elegant holiday starter, you can't beat this Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.
Butternut squash FAQ
Prepping this winter squash for roasting can be a little tricky if you've never done it before.
So let's talk about some frequently asked questions before we get to the recipe details.
Do I need to peel butternut squash before roasting?
For recipes like stuffed squash where you cut it in half but otherwise keep the squash intact, it's best to leave the skin on.
But since we want cubes for this recipe, it's best to peel the squash first.
Can I eat the skin of a roasted butternut squash?
While the cooked skin is technically edible, most people (myself included) don't care for the texture of roasted butternut squash skin.
How do you cut butternut squash for roasting?
First cut the squash in half at the neck. Then slice it into approximately 1-inch rounds. Finally, slice each round into cubes.
How do you seed a butternut squash?
After cutting the squash into two pieces at the neck, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
This quick video shows everything you need to know about peeling and chopping a butternut squash before roasting.
You can also read detailed instructions for How to Peel and Cut a Butternut Squash.
If you're short on time or don't want to deal with prepping the squash, many supermarkets sell bags of peeled and cubed butternut squash in the produce section.
The ingredient list for the salad is relatively short:
- Butternut squash (the star of our salad)
- Olive oil (for roasting the squash)
- Salt and pepper (for seasoning the squash)
- Baby spinach (I like to buy pre-washed baby spinach that's ready to go.)
- Cooked lentils (You'll need 1 can or 1 ½ cups of cooked lentils. If you want to cook the lentils yourself, start with ¾ cup dried and prepare them on the stove or in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.)
- Pumpkin seeds (for added nutrition and crunch)
I like to keep the components of the salad in separate containers, then combine them when ready to serve.
Then right before eating, I toss the salad with the Dijon Mustard Salad Dressing.
Or you can serve the dressing on the side and allow your guests to add as much as they want.
I like to add the dressing ingredients to a jar and shake to emulsify.
You will need the following ingredients for the classic Mediterranean dressing:
- Dijon mustard (for bold tangy flavor)
- Apple cider vinegar (for acid)
- Pure maple syrup (for a little natural sweetness)
- Olive oil (the best oil on a Mediterranean diet)
- Salt and pepper (for seasoning)
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad is a complete vegan meal.
It's a filling lunch since it's full of protein and fiber.
And it's a showstopper when you're entertaining.
Plus it's perfect for holiday potlucks.
Try it with some of these easy Mediterranean diet favorites:
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad Recipe
This recipe serves 4 as a main dish (as reflected in the Nutrition Facts) or 8 or more as a starter salad.
The Nutrition Facts include the entire quantity of salad dressing for the recipe; however, you may not need to use that much.
Leftover salad is best stored before adding the dressing. The salad and dressing will last covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
For the salad:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss the cubes of butternut squash in the tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20-30 minutes, tossing half way through, until soft and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, add the salad dressing ingredients to a small jar. Shake until well combined.
- To assemble each salad, divide the spinach among 4 large bowls. Top each with lentils, the roasted butternut squash, and pumpkin seeds. Serve the the dressing and enjoy.