Today we are celebrating fall with this roasted acorn squash salad. The true star of the show in this recipe is the Roasted Acorn Squash, which is caramelized in the oven and coated in cinnamon and maple syrup. The fall-inspired flavors of this salad, as well as its beautiful presentation, make it perfect for serving on your holiday table. 

If this salad sounds enticing, you’ll love my other seasonal squash salads, like my Ottolenghi Butternut Squash, my Butternut Squash Quinoa, or this Arugula Butternut Squash Salad. Browse through the rest of my Fall Salads for more delicious inspiration and fall recipe ideas. 

A salad with caramelized acorn squash on a plate from the top view.


A few simple, warm fall flavors, like cinnamon and maple, take the acorn squash in this recipe to the next level. The rest of the ingredients pair so well with the sweetness of the squash. 

You’ll need three sets of ingredients for this recipe, including those for the roasted acorn squash, the salad dressing, and the salad itself.

Ingredients for a salad with roasted squash in bowls from the top view.
  • For roasting acorn squash, you’ll need 2 small acorn squash (1-1 ½ pounds each), olive oil, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, kosher salt, and black pepper. 
  • To make the salad dressing, gather olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, kosher salt, and black pepper. 
  • For the salad, you’ll need salad greens, arugula, cooked quinoa (or cooked bulgur/wild rice), dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds. 


The beauty of salads is that they’re super customizable to suit your preferences or to accommodate the ingredients you have on hand. Make this fall squash salad according to the recipe, or switch things up to suit your taste buds. Either way, it’s guaranteed to turn out delicious. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Oil: I used olive oil in this recipe for its mild flavor, but you can also use avocado oil, coconut oil, or another oil of your choice for roasting your acorn squash slices. You can even use melted butter for an extra rich flavor. For the salad dressing, however, I recommend using olive oil.
  • Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is such a classic fall flavor that gives this seasonal salad a rich sweetness. If you prefer not to use maple syrup or don’t have any on hand, feel free to use an equal amount of honey or brown sugar instead. 
  • Lemon juice: We’re using apple cider vinegar in the roasted squash salad dressing to give it an acidic kick and a mild, fall-inspired cider flavor. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, lemon juice will provide a similar acidic flavor. 
  • Salad greens: I personally love the peppery taste of arugula squash salad, but sometimes arugula can be difficult to find at the store. If you can’t get your hands on it, baby kale, baby greens, spring mix, or another type of salad green will do the trick. 
  • Quinoa: The quinoa in this squash salad is optional, but I love to add it when I want a more filling and hearty salad. If you don’t have quinoa, you can substitute with wild rice, bulgur, or farro. These ancient grains will provide a similar heartiness and will help keep you full for a longer period of time. If you are new to quinoa, be sure to check out my guide on How To Cook Quinoa Perfectly.
  • Cheese: I know that not everyone enjoys the tanginess of goat cheese, so feel free to use a different cheese instead. Feta cheese or parmesan are also perfect pairings with this winter salad. 
  • Pumpkin seeds: No salad is complete without a nice crunch! I used pumpkin seeds in this recipe for the crunch factor, but you can also use sunflower seeds or nuts like pecans or walnuts. 

How to Make This Recipe

Once you roast the acorn squash, the rest of the recipe comes together in a breeze. Simply whip up the dressing, toss in the greens and toppings, top with the squash, and you’ve created a salad fit for any Thanksgiving table. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Preheat the oven: Set your oven temperature to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
A person preparing acorn squash slices for roasting from the top view.
  1. Arrange the squash: Place the squash slices on the sheet pan, taking care to arrange them in a single layer. 
  2. Prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and pepper until combined. Brush the mixture on both sides of each squash slice. 
  3. Roast the squash: Roast the squash in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, flip the slices, and roast for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool.
A person tossing salad greens in dressing from the top view.
  1. Make the dressing: In a big bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the salad dressing. 
  2. Assemble the salad: Add the salad greens and arugula to the large bowl containing the dressing. Give it a toss to coat all the leaves evenly. Add cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, and pomegranate arils and toss again. 
A salad on a plate with caramelized acorn squash shown from the top view.
  1. Serve: Transfer to a serving plate and top with the roasted sliced acorn squash, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds. Taste for seasoning and add a little bit more fresh ground pepper or another pinch of salt, if necessary. Serve. 

How to Make Ahead & Store

The holiday season is a busy time of year, so it’s great to have opportunities to make recipes ahead of time. The good news is that this winter squash salad is definitely make-ahead friendly! Here are some tips for prepping this recipe ahead of time, as well as some storage suggestions:

  • Make ahead: Roasting the squash is the most time-consuming part of this recipe, so roast it 2-3 days in advance to save time. Once you let it cool, store it in the fridge until ready to use. Just make sure to take the squash out of the fridge before serving the salad to give it enough time to warm up to room temperature. You can also prep the easy salad dressing ahead of time and add it to the greens when you’re ready to assemble. 
  • Store: Store the squash arugula salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. The greens tend to wilt fairly quickly as they sit in the dressing, so try to consume it within that time period. 

What Does This Recipe Pair Well With

The warm, sweet autumn flavors of this roasted squash salad pair perfectly with turkey for a delicious, picture-perfect addition to any Thanksgiving table. 

While it’s perfect for the holidays, this recipe also beautifully complements all of your favorite comfort food dishes for the fall and winter months. A chilly evening calls for this squash salad and a steaming bowl of Vegetable Beef Soup for a light dinner. Or, serve this delicious salad as the perfect side dish for a classic seasonal main dish, like my Chicken Stroganoff, Pot Roast, or Baked Ziti.

A close-up of a salad topped with roasted squash slices from the side view.


How to cook acorn squash for salad?

The best way to cook acorn squash is to roast it, as roasted acorn squash in salad adds a  caramelized, sweet, and nutty flavor profile. Simply roast sliced squash in a 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through.

Do you remove skin from acorn squash?

There’s no need to remove the skin of an acorn squash, as it’s perfectly edible. Roasting the squash also softens the skin and makes it easier to eat.

Other Acorn Squash Recipes You Might Like

If you’re enjoying cozy, autumn-inspired recipes like this acorn squash salad, you’ll definitely fall in love with my other seasonal recipes! Check out the links below for more inspiration. 

If you try this Roasted Squash Salad recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.

This recipe was originally published in October 2015. It was updated with new images and helpful text in September 2022 with minor additions (mostly for clarification) to the originally published recipe.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Spicy Pepitas and Cranberries

5 from 5 votes
Yields6 servings
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
This Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Spicy Pepitas and Cranberries is an easy to make salad made by roasting acorn squash and flavoring it with pumpkin seeds and cranberries.


For The Acorn Squash:

  • 2 small acorn squash, 1 to 1 ½ pound each, cut in half and sliced into 1-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or coconut or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 3 cups salad greens, washed and dried
  • 2 cups arugula*, washed and dried
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, bulgur or wild rice*, optional
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds, optional
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup pepitas*, aka pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted*


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
  • Arrange the sliced acorn squash on baking sheets in a single layer.
  • Mix together olive oil, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Brush each acorn squash slice with the mixture on both sides.
  • Roast them in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip them over and roast for another 15 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Let them cool while you are working on the rest of the ingredients.
  • To make the salad dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large salad bowl (this is the bowl you will put everything together).
  • To assemble the salad: Place salad greens and arugula into the bowl with the dressing. Give it a gentle toss to ensure all the leaves are coated with the vinaigrette. Add in the cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, and pomegranate seeds. Toss to combine.
  • Transfer it to a large plate (the one you’ll serve it in)* and top it with the roasted acorn squash slices. Garnish with goat cheese and pepitas (pumpkin seeds.) Taste for seasoning and add more if necessary. Serve.


  • Arugula: While I love the peppery flavors of arugula, it can be substituted with an equal amount of salad greens.
  • Quinoa: You can swap cooked quinoa with cooked wild rice, bulgur, or farro. Or you can omit using it if you do not have any. This salad would still be good without it.
  • To roast pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas): This is an optional step, so if you have the time, I recommend toasting your pepitas. To do so, place pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until it starts to smell. Be sure to keep a close eye on them as they will burn quickly. If you like it spicy, sprinkle them with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Serving Suggestions: You can serve this salad in the bowl that you make. However, I find that roasted acorn squash slices break easily. So, I recommend serving it on a large serving plate (like you see in the photos). This way, not only do they hold their shape, but also your acorn squash salad looks beautiful, complimenting your tablescape.


Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 473mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1111IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @foolproofliving or tag #foolproofeats!

About Aysegul Sanford

Hello Friend! I'm Aysegul but you can call me “Ice." I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

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5 from 5 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe, thank you so much, I’ve made it twice in the last 2 weeks. With respect, the skin after roasting the acorn squash is really hard/tough, inedible even, am I doing something wrong? Or is skin truly meant to be eaten that way?

    1. Hi Anne,
      I am glad to hear you like this recipe. I am not sure why yours came out inedible. It should have softened during the roasting process.
      Have you tried roasting it a little bit longer to see if it helps?
      Honestly, I can’t think of another reason. Will you give me a little bit more information?

  2. Hi there!
    I’m wondering why we cannot use the seeds removed from the squash as the topping instead of pumpkin seeds. Are acorn squash seeds edible?
    Thank you so much! I’m hoping for close to zero waste with most of the recipes I’m testing.
    Have the most amazing day,

    1. Hi Heidi,
      Yes, they are edible. Simply rinse them under cold water in a colander. Dry them as much as you can.
      Drizzle with a tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then pop into a 325-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
      You can do this with butternut squash seeds as well.
      I hope this helps. Thanks for coming by.

  3. 5 stars
    This is the perfect dish for fall! I love the combination of a little bit of sweet and spicy! Congrats on the move and workshop!