Roasted Butternut Squash Salad (Make Ahead)- Slender Kitchen

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad (Make Ahead)- Slender Kitchen

This Roasted Squash Salad is made with tender butternut squash, arugula, almonds, feta cheese, and a zesty orange vinaigrette. Loaded with the most irresistible flavors of the season, this butternut squash salad recipe is the perfect addition to your weekly rotation.


If you’re looking for the ultimate fall salad, this Butternut Squash Salad is the one. This crave-worthy salad is a stunning combination of rich, tangy, zesty, and nutty flavors.

When it comes to food, there’s something to get excited about in every season. In the fall, it’s butternut squash. This delicious fall vegetable is one of my favorite foods to cook up during the fall and winter seasons.

From Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Butternut Squash to Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos to Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes, I have tried (and loved) more healthy butternut squash recipes than I can count.

The other great thing about this roasted squash salad is that if you roast your butternut squash ahead of time, it only takes 10 minutes to throw together. This makes it a perfect make-ahead salad for holiday meals.

I recommend serving this dish with a protein-heavy entrée or a warm bowl of soup. It doesn’t matter if you’re serving a table full of meat lovers or a bunch of herbivores. This delicious butternut squash salad will convert anyone into a salad lover. Trust me.

Butternut squash salad with roasted squash served with almonds, feta, and arugula with dressing on the side.

Key Ingredients

To make this delicious squash salad, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Butternut squash: The star of this flavorful fall salad! For proper roasting, chop the squash into bite-sized cubes and sprinkle them with kosher salt and black pepper. Any winter squash works in this salad if you don’t have butternut squash on hand.
  • Arugula: I love the peppery flavor of arugula in this salad, but you could also try spinach, kale, or even a combo of all three.
  • Feta cheese: This tangy cheese is the perfect complement to the squash’s subtle sweetness. Don’t have any? Feel free to swap it out for another tangy cheese like goat cheese.
  • Almonds: Every good salad needs a bit of a crunch! Roasted almonds are a delicious way of adding a ton of flavor (and protein) to this healthy fall salad. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or candied pecans are all delicious as well.
  • Orange vinaigrette: Made from a drool-worthy combination of fresh orange juice, red wine vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper, this dressing really is the cherry on top of a wonderful dish. Swap in apple cider vinegar or white balsamic in the dressing and add some Dijon mustard if you like for an earthier flavor.
  • Add fruit: Consider adding pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, or dried cherries for something sweet and tart.

Recipe Tips and Variations

Here are some of my top tips to help you make this dish:

  • Mix up your nuts. Not a fan of almonds? No problem! Pecans and walnuts are both easy to roast and taste great on top of this salad. You can actually roast your nuts ahead of time, as they will last for weeks in an airtight container.
  • Swap your greens. While I love the taste of arugula in this salad, you can swap it out for any kind of leafy greens you like. Mixed greens, spinach, and kale will all work great as well.
  • Make it ahead! This salad is great for meal prepping and making ahead of time. Just be sure to store the arugula and dressing in separate containers. If you store them all together, the arugula will begin to droop and the leaves will get soggy. For best results, add the arugula and dressing just before serving.
  • Add grains. If you’re looking to beef up this salad with some hearty protein and fiber, grains are a great way to do it! Quinoa and lentils will both work well.
  • Swap cheese. Not a fan of feta? Goat cheese, parmesan cheese, and blue cheese will provide a similarly tangy flavor that tastes delicious in this dish.
  • Make it vegan. You can turn this into a delicious vegan side dish by omitting the feta and swapping out the honey for maple syrup.
  • Add protein. For a complete and well-balanced meal, try topping this salad with a healthy protein source like grilled chicken, tofu, or roasted chickpeas.
  • Add fruit: Try this with sliced apples, pears, stone fruit, or berries.

How to Choose the Right Butternut Squash

If you’re a first-time butternut squash buyer, it can be hard to know how to choose the right squash. Here’s what to look for in the perfect butternut squash:

  • Look for a squash with a solid beige color. There shouldn’t be any punctures, deep cuts, or excessive bruises on its skin. However, a single dark spot from where the squash touched the ground is fine.
  • Your squash should feel heavy for its size. Don’t be afraid to pick up a few different squashes so you can compare the weight against the different ones.
  • Look for a squash that has a fat neck and a small bulb. This means it will have the most meat so that you will get the biggest bank for your buck.

Arugula butternut squash with feta cheese and almonds in a wooden bowl with almonds on the side.

How to Store Butternut Squash Salad

Whether you’re prepping for Thanksgiving or saving leftovers for a weeknight dinner, there are a few ways to store this healthy squash salad. First, seal your roasted squash, arugula, feta cheese, and orange vinaigrette in separate, airtight containers. Then, you can store them in a couple of different ways:

  • Butternut squash will refrigerate for up to 3-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Arugula will refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Feta cheese will refrigerate for up to 5-7 days.
  • Orange vinaigrette will refrigerate for up to 7-10 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this healthy fall recipe:

Is this salad healthy?

Absolutely! Butternut squash is full of essential vitamins and nutrients, and roasted nuts are a great source of healthy protein. Also, because we’re making our dressing from scratch, it’s free from added sugars and unnecessary fats.

Can I use another type of squash?

Of course. If you don’t like butternut squash or can’t find it at the store, you can use acorn squash or kabocha squash instead. Both of these options will yield delicious fall flavors.

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