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 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.
- 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.
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:
- Preheat the oven: Set your oven temperature to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Arrange the squash: Place the squash slices on the sheet pan, taking care to arrange them in a single layer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make the dressing: In a big bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the salad dressing.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Roasted Kabocha Squash with Sesame Seeds
- Herbed Goat Cheese Bruschetta with Butternut Squash and Cranberry Jam
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
- Dominican-Style Pumpkin-Ginger Soup
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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
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
- ⅛ 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.