One of the best ways you can keep your food budget in check is to make sure you’re using up what you’ve got in your pantry. So this week I used up a bunch of “leftover” ingredients I had on hand to make this absolutely gorgeous butternut squash salad. It’s simple but elegant, and very easy to prepare. Plus, it meal preps great, so I’m definitely going to eating this for lunch for the next few days!
What’s in This Butternut Squash salad?
I had a bunch of leftovers from the Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad that I made for Thanksgiving, so I repurposed the flavors into this Butternut Squash Salad. Instead of using Brussels sprouts as the “green” I used simple mixed greens. I swapped out the roasted sweet potatoes for roasted butternut squash (because I had gotten a bunch of those on sale a couple of weeks ago), added some dried cranberries, and then topped the salad with the same combination of pecans, goat cheese, and a homemade maple Dijon vinaigrette. It’s so simple, but feels so ✨fancy✨.
Make it a Meal
I would serve this salad, as written, as a side dish or as part of a meal. If you want to bulk it up a bit and turn this into a “meal salad” here are a few things you can add:
- Cooked turkey breast
- Cooked chicken breast
- Cooked bacon
- Cooked farro or barley
- Cooked wild rice
- Diced apples or pears
- Thinly sliced red onions
Other Cheese Options
Not everyone is a fan of goat cheese and it’s not always the most affordable cheese on the shelf, so if you need to swap that out for another option try diced white cheddar, shaved Parmesan, or maybe something like manchego.
How to Store Butternut Squash Salad for Meal prep
As I mentioned above, I’m going to be meal prepping this salad for my lunches. The best way to keep this salad fresh for a few days is to use the proper layering technique. Layer this salad in your meal prep container with dressing and toppings on the bottom and the delicate greens on top. So it would go in this order: dressing, butternut squash, pecans, cranberries, goat cheese, greens. This keeps the greens away from the dressing and prevents them from being squished by the heavy toppings. When you’re ready to eat, just shake or stir! The salad should stay good in the refrigerator for about four days.
Butternut Squash Salad
Roasted Butternut Squash
- 2 lbs. butternut squash ($1.78)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.13)
- 1 pinch salt ($0.01)
- 1 pinch pepper ($0.01)
Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup olive oil ($0.52)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup ($0.64)
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar ($0.15)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
- 4 cups spring mix ($1.75)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries ($0.27)
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans ($0.59)
- 1 oz. goat cheese ($0.50)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and slice 2 lbs. of butternut squash into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups cubes).
- Place the cubed butternut squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the squash until well coated in oil.
- Roast the squash in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring once after about 20 minutes of roasting. After 30 minutes the squash should be tender with a little bit of browning on the edges. Allow the squash to cool.
- While the squash is roasting, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
- When the squash is cool to your liking (you can use it warm or room temperature), build the salad. Place the spring mix on the bottom, then top with the roasted squash, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and crumbled goat cheese.
- If serving right away, add about half of the dressing and toss to coat. Add more dressing to each serving as needed.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Butternut Squash Salad – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice about 2 lbs. of butternut squash into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups once diced). Add the squash to a parchment-lined sheet pan, then drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss until the butternut squash is evenly coated.
Roast the butternut squash in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once after about 20 minutes in the oven. After 30 minutes, the squash should be tender and have some caramelization on the edges (brown color). Allow the squash to cool slightly.
While the butternut squash is in the oven, prepare the maple Dijon vinaigrette. Whisk together ¼ cup olive oi, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.
You can serve this salad with the squash still slightly warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Once the squash has cooled to your liking, it’s time to build the salad. Add 4 cups spring mix to a large serving bowl, then top with the roasted butternut squash, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, and crumbled goat cheese. If meal prepping the salad, add the ingredients to individual containers in the opposite order (dressing first, toppings, then spring mix).
Add about half of the dressing, then toss the salad to coat. Add more dressing to each serving to taste.
I like to top each salad bowl with a little more pepper and a pinch of salt, but that’s just me! No matter how you serve it, this butternut squash salad is the perfect mix of sweet, savory, nutty, and creamy flavors!
This salad tastes so good. The sweetness of the maple syrup really plays well with the apple cider vinegar. I added some grilled chicken to make it more of a meal.
Changes I made because I didn’t have ingredients on hand:
-Raisins instead of cranberries
-shaved parmesan instead of goat cheese
I feel like a stronger cheese (like goat as suggested) would be better. I will have to pick some up for the next time I make this. Which will be soon.
This was amazing and our favorite salad now. I know, I know I gave 5 stars yet I changed one tiny thing lol. But I still stand by the 5 stars because if you love goat cheese you don’t need to switch that out. Unfortunately I can’t do goat cheese. So while I was at Aldi’s they had a white cheddar cranberry cheese marked down for end of season. That went perfectly in this salad.
This is by far our absolute favorite salad now.
Well oops there was another difference. I was out of dried cranberries and so was Aldi. Lild had a bag of dried berry medley (cranberry, cherries, and blueberries)I wasn’t about to pick the cranberries out so I just used them all. So yummy.
Now I’m off to the farmers market to get some butternut squash and cut, cube, and freeze a bunch so we can have this delicious salad whenever we want. Especially since most of the ingredients are always on hand anyway.
Hi, Brandy! So glad to hear you love the recipe! Frozen butternut squash is a great idea to make this even easier to enjoy on the drop of a dime. While likely not as budget-friendly as doing it yourself, you can purchase frozen, pre-cut butternut squash at most grocery store chains. (I saw some at Walmart, Kroger and Target when I looked online!). — Marion :)