Winter Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

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Fresh greens, spicy red onions, crunchy walnuts, chewy sweet raisins and cranberries, salty Parmesan, and roasted Acorn squash come together with a tangy sweet maple vinaigrette in this winter squash salad.

winter salad with roasted acorn squash

Acorn Squash Salad

Salads today can be so many different things. A bed of mixed lettuce is the perfect base for so many delicious combinations. One of my favorite things is to come up with ideas to top them that hit all the flavor and texture notes.

When roasting squash for salads, pasta, or just as a side dish I will often use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash first and then just roast cubes. The truth is that is all but impossible with acorn squash.

As delicious as winter squash are they are a bit tricky to cut from whole and work with. It takes a large, sharp knife and some muscle to make it happen. As frustrating as this can be, the thick skin makes storing winter squash a shelf-life dream in the cooler months of fall and winter.

Acorn squash salad on platter with napkin

Squash Salad

When roasting acorn squash, you can slice it into rings and then pieces and remove the skin. Or feel free to roast it halved and then score cubes with a knife and gently scoop the flesh pieces off of the skin. I say just figure out the technique that will work best for you, with a little trial and error.

A bed of peppery arugula is the perfect base for the winter squash salad’s sweet and spicy topping. But spring mix or spinach are quite tasty as well.

Place the lettuce on a platter. I make my salads like I make nachos – think wide not tall. Everyone wants a bit of the delicious toppings every time. Who wants a plate of straight lettuce?

Layer on all the toppings creating an even layer. Be sure to let the squash cool almost completely. If you roast it to al dente and then cool it your salad will have that firm not too soft of bite to it.

Maple Vinaigrette over Winter Squash Salad

Maple Vinaigrette

The combination of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup is beyond amazing on this winter squash salad. That pairing with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper is the lightest most amazing dressing and I use it regularly.

The maple vinaigrette is delicious in this Spinach Apple Salad as well. Not a fan of maple? This will work nicely with honey too. Feel free to swap it and adjust to your own tastes.

One of the reasons I love making my own salad dressing is the freshness and flavor that can’t be beaten. Homemade dressings are a great way to make sure you don’t end up with a refrigerator full of half-used salad dressing bottles. Just stir together what you need when you need it.

Acorn Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Squash Salad Recipe

  • roasted acorn or butternut squash
  • spring mix arugula, or spinach
  • thinly sliced red onions
  • toasted walnut halves
  • raisins
  • dried cranberries
  • shaved or shredded fresh Parmesan

Maple Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • white balsamic vinegar
  • maple syrup
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Instructions

  1. Roast the squash and set it aside to cool. Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Set the nuts aside to cool. When the squash has cooled, cut it into bite-size pieces.
  2. In a large bowl or on a platter, layer the spring mix, roasted squash, onions, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, and Parmesan.
  3. Combine the vinegar, maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper in a small jar. Close tightly with a lid and shake well to mix.
  4. Drizzle the winter squash salad with the dressing and toss well to coat. Serve immediately.
close up of salad with roasted squash

Knowing how to roast winter squash will help you get a simple yet delicious meal on the table in no time. Easy prep and then pop it in the oven while you do other things make dinnertime a breeze.

Roasted Butternut Squash takes a sharp knife and about 40 minutes to have it fork-tender and delicious. Spaghetti squash will be delicious topped with just butter and salt and pepper or your favorite marinara or pasta sauce.

Roasted Acorn Squash is so good sprinkled with brown sugar or drizzled with a touch of maple syrup. Savory, and sweet with a touch of heat blends perfectly in this sausage and apple stuffed acorn squash.

Have you tried making bread with the roasted squash? It makes the best ultra-soft bread for sandwiches or to serve with a warm bowl of soup or chili.

Acorn squash salad on platter with napkin

Winter Squash Salad

5 from 1 vote
Fresh greens, spicy red onions, crunchy walnuts, chewy sweet raisins and cranberries, salty Parmesan, and roasted Acorn squash come together with a tangy sweet maple vinaigrette in this winter squash salad.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Salad Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups roasted acorn or butternut squash cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 5 ounces spring mix arugula, or spinach about 6-8 cups worth
  • ¼ cup very thinly sliced red onions
  • ½ cup toasted walnut halves
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup shaved or shredded fresh Parmesan

Maple Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Roast the squash and set it aside to cool. Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Set the nuts aside to cool. When the squash has cooled, cut it into bite-size pieces.
  • In a large bowl or on a platter, layer the spring mix, roasted squash, onions, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, and Parmesan.
  • Combine the vinegar, maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper in a small jar. Close tightly with a lid and shake well to mix.
  • Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss well to coat. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal · Carbohydrates: 38g · Protein: 6g · Fat: 18g · Saturated Fat: 3g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g · Monounsaturated Fat: 7g · Cholesterol: 4mg · Sodium: 265mg · Potassium: 523mg · Fiber: 4g · Sugar: 17g · Vitamin A: 711IU · Vitamin C: 17mg · Calcium: 137mg · Iron: 2mg
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Roasted Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
Roasted Squash Salad with Parmesan, Red Onion, and Walnuts

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  1. Yvonne says

    5 stars
    I made this for a church potluck today and got rave reviews! I bought diced butternut squash from the fresh food section at Sprout’s. And I put it on a bed of spinach. I also took Mary’s advice and used a large platter instead of a bowl. It looked beautiful!