This Recipe for Butternut Squash Salad is warm and comforting and full of Fall flavours. Paired with roasted brussels sprouts, feta cheese, white onion, toasted pecans and crumbled bacon, this Butternut Squash Salad is filling enough to be a satisfying meal all on it’s own!
I’m not sure if you know this about me just yet, however, I love my salads. And I mean, reaaaally, really love them. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always referred to salads as one of my absolute favourite things to eat. Back then, it probably had a lot more to do with all the creamy fatty dressings than anything else. Buuut, that’s besides the point. Salads…they can be anything! Hot, cold, with greens or without, with creamy dressings or sweet vinaigrettes. And when you really want to get fancy or creative with them, like this recipe for Butternut Squash Salad, there can’t possibly be anything to stop you. The sky’s the limit when it comes to salads!
I’ve met a few anti-salad people in my day who swear by how boring and gross they are. That they’d rather starve then bare to eat another piece of lettuce again. If this sounds like you, then maybe, just maybe, this recipe for Butternut Squash Salad is going to be the one to change your mind. It could be the perfectly roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts that lay a-top of it. Or perhaps it’s the crispy crumbled bacon that pairs beautifully with the feta cheese and raw white onion sprinkled throughout. Maybe it’s the perfectly toasted pecans? Or perhaps it’s the homemade creamy roasted sesame dressing that ties it altogether. Either way, this Butternut Squash Salad is enough, IMHO, to turn them salad haters into lovers.
If you’re one of those people who can’t seem to see past salad being just a boring ol’ side dish or appetizer then I dare you to make this recipe for Butternut Squash Salad. Not only is it easy to follow and incredibly delicious but it WILL fill you up and you can serve it up as a main dish for lunch or dinner all on its own. Trust me. The recipient of most of my recipes is my 6 foot tall, 230 pound boyfriend. Need I say more?
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD (INGREDIENTS)
These ingredients might seem few upon first glance but trust me, when you combine them in a bowl or plate, the most delicious and filling Butternut Squash Salad is born. Recipe Note: The ingredients pictured are only for the salad itself. However, feel free to see this post for how to make the recommended Creamy Roasted Sesame Dressing that takes this salad over the top.
- Lettuce: The base of our salad and adds crunch and freshness. I used a beautiful multi-coloured leaf lettuce but you can honestly use whatever greens you want or have on hand. Arugula, spinach, kale or any other kind of lettuce you can think of all make great options. Feel free to combine more than one type for different textures and flavours.
- Butternut Squash: Well, sure! We can’t have this Butternut Squash Salad without one! After it’s roasted in the oven, it adds a sweet, almost caramelized flavour to the salad.
- Brussels Sprouts: Just scream Fall to me and pair perfectly with the Butternut Squash. Also roasted in the oven for maximum flavour (at the exact same time as the squash…so yay for that!).
- Bacon: Adds a salty, delicious crunch to the salad as I’m sure many of us could agree bacon just makes everything better… am I right?! To make this salad vegetarian, feel free to leave it out.
- Feta Cheese: Adds a fresh, creamy element to the salad. Pairs perfectly with the other ingredients and provides a nice balance in this recipe for Butternut Squash Salad.
- Onion: Kept raw for a bit of a bite. I used white onion here but red would also taste great!
- Pecans: Toasting nuts is a serious game changer and brings a deep, nutty taste to the salad. The depth of flavour it adds is unbeatable and so delicious! I wouldn’t recommend skipping the toasting part but you always could, if you’re pressed for time. I used halved pecans but keeping them whole is also fine.
- Not Pictured: Avocado Oil (but you can use Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead, if you prefer) and Salt and Pepper used to season/flavour the veggies before they go in the oven. Obviously, I decided to keep things pretty basic with the seasoning as the salad is already packed with so much flavour. However, if you want to change things up a bit and use a different combination of spices, feel free to do so.
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD (KEY TIPS)
- Use a salad spinner to dry your greens. Seriously. It makes such a difference and believe you me, NOBODY likes wet lettuce!!!
- Don’t cut the butternut squash or brussels sprouts too big. They go directly on top of the salad so bite size pieces are best. You want to be able to grab a fork full of several ingredients in the same bite!
- Cook the bacon first (I used my handy and quick oven broiling method you can find here) and save the bacon grease! That’s what the veggies will cook in adding flavour and allowing them to slightly caramelize as they cook. One sheet pan = less dishes!
- Allow the veggies to cool slightly before adding them to the salad. If they’re too hot directly out of the oven, they’ll wilt the greens and take away some of the crunch and freshness.
- Keep a close eye on the pecans as you toast them in a skillet on the stove. Nuts burn suppper easily and you don’t want that extra charred flavour to ruin your salad. PRO TIP: Keep stirring them to avoid browning too quickly and so that they can cook evenly all the way around!
- Dress just before serving. The greens will lose their crunch and freshness and tend to wilt the longer they sit in the dressing. For best results, don’t add any dressing to the salad until you’re ready to serve and eat it.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, you can definitely go ahead and make the different components of the salad in advance. Chop the lettuce. Cut the onion. Toast the pecans. Broil the bacon. Roast the brussels sprouts and butternut squash in the oven. Make the roasted sesame dressing, if using. Then, when you’re ready to eat it, assemble it on the spot and enjoy!
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge. If you can avoid it, only add dressing to the portion of the salad you know you’re going to eat at that given time. Otherwise, it’ll wilt and become soggy the longer it sits in the dressing. For best results, store leftover dressing and salad in separate airtight containers. The dressing will be good for about a week and the mixed salad should be consumed within 2 days.
I’m glad you asked! This salad is amazing with this homemade creamy Roasted Sesame Dressing which is my take on this one you’re probably familiar with that you can easily find at Costco or on Amazon. It’s a simple to make dressing packed full of flavour that really takes this salad to the next level. And the best part is that it only takes about 5 minutes to make…. so really, do you have an excuse not to do it?!
However, if you’re not feeling those roasted sesame vibes, try it with homemade ranch dressing, a little bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil or whatever other dressing you already know and love!
This recipe for Butternut Squash Salad has so many delicious components to it that it’s satisfying and filling enough to be a main meal all on it’s own. However, it’s also great as part of a big Holiday dinner next to some other awesome and classic side dishes. Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese, Creamy Stuffed Mushrooms or these Grilled Cabbage Steaks all make great options.
Soup is always a good option to serve next to a good salad like this one. Here are some of my favourites: Five Minute Egg Drop Soup, Loaded Cauliflower Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, No Noodle Chicken Soup or Creamy Pumpkin Soup.
Although this salad is a star and filling all on it’s own, adding a little extra protein to the top never hurt anybody now did it? Try it with some grilled or air fried chicken breasts, some broiled cod, coconut shrimp or some pork souvlaki skewers.
- 1 head Lettuce, chopped
- 6 Slices Bacon
- 1 small Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1/2 pound Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1/3 cup Halved Pecans*
- 1/3 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 of a White Onion, Sliced
- 1 tbsp Avocado or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the (recommended) Roasted Sesame Dressing
- Cook the bacon according to my broiling bacon in the oven method. Leave the bacon grease on the sheet pan. After draining the grease for a few minutes on a paper towel lined plate, chop it into bite size pieces and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven to 400°.
- While the bacon is cooking, add the pecans to a small skillet over medium low heat. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, to ensure nothing burns. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
- Add the butternut squash and brussels sprouts to the sheet pan with the bacon grease. Add the oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the squash could easily be pierced with a fork, tossing halfway. Allow to cool slightly before putting the salad together.
- Assemble the salad by dividing the chopped lettuce amongst bowls. Top with the raw onion, crumbled bacon, feta cheese, toasted pecans and roasted vegetables. Drizzle with the homemade Roasted Sesame Dressing, if using, or another dressing of your choice. Enjoy!
This Recipe for Butternut Squash makes 2 main dish servings or 4 side dish servings.
For a delicious twist, try using spiced candied pecans instead of regular ones! If you do choose to do this, skip step number 2.
The Nutritional Information is only an estimate and is calculated based off of the recipe making 4 servings.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 263Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 504mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 12g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
LOVE BUTTERNUT SQUASH? TRY MY SIMPLE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH GARLIC AND PARSLEY NEXT!
MORE DELICIOUS SALAD RECIPES FOR YOU TO LOVE