5 from 11 votes
Overhead shot of Fall Butternut Squash Salad in a neutral colored bowl on a wood board with a small ramekin of apple cider vinaigrette, dark red linen and ramekin of pepitas arranged around the board.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

This Fall Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is loaded with apples, cranberries, arugula and parmesan!  This healthy, filling salad is perfect for lunch, light dinners or holiday parties!

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, apple cider, autumn, butternut squash, cranberries, fall, maple, quinoa, roasted, vinaigrette
Servings: 6
Calories: 462 kcal
  • 1 (1 ½ pound) Butternut Squash – peeled and ¾’’ diced (about 5 cups) (SEE NOTES)
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 4 TBS Pure Maple Syrup - DIVIDED
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 5 ounces Arugula – washed and spun dry
  • 3 Cups Cooked Quinoa (equivalent of 1 cup dry quinoa) (SEE NOTES)
  • 1 Green Apple – cored & thinly sliced or diced (I used Granny Smith) (SEE NOTES)
  • ½ Cup Walnuts – chopped and toasted
  • 1/2 - ¾ Cup Parmesan – freshly grated, to taste
  • ¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 small Shallot – finely diced, DIVIDED
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • ½ tsp Fresh Thyme - minced
  • ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Optional Add-in’s: Pumpkin Seeds, Goat Cheese, Pomegranate Arils
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Roast the squash (see notes): Place squash cubes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle the squash with olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup, thyme, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper. Toss to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 22-25 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking. Scatter the cranberries onto the pan and continue to roast for 5 minutes, or until squash is tender and lightly caramelized. Remove from oven and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  3. While the squash is roasting, make the dressing: In a bowl whisk the vinegar, 1 tablespoon shallots, 2 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup, mustard, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify. ALTERNATIVELY: Add the dressing ingredients to a jar, seal jar and shake vigorously to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Set aside.

  4. Assemble the salad: In a large salad bowl, add the arugula and enough dressing to coat the lettuce. Toss. Add the quinoa, apple slices, walnuts, parmesan and remaining diced shallots. Toss again to combine. Add the roasted squash with cranberries and dressing to taste. Very gently toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature with any remaining dressing on the side. Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes
  1. If using whole squash, microwave it for easy peeling!

    • Slice off both ends (top and bottom) of the squash using a sharp chef's knife.
    • Use a fork to pierce shallow holes all around the squash.
    • Microwave the squash for 1 to 2 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave).  You don't want to actually cook the squash, you just want to soften the skin.
    • Allow squash to cool and then proceed to peel it.
  2. To keep prep time at 15 minutes, use packaged, peeled and diced butternut squash.  Prepared butternut squash can be found in the refrigerated produce section of most major grocery stores.
  3. You can use your favorite type of quinoa - white, red, or black.  I used a tri-color blend.  To cut down on prep the day of, I make the quinoa in advance.  Store cooked quinoa in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  (See below for how to cook perfect quinoa!)
  4. While you can use any variety of apple in this salad, green apples pair best with butternut squash.  And, specifically tart Granny Smith apples add the best layer of flavor!
  5. When roasting the squash cubes, make sure you do not overcrowd the pan or the squash will steam instead of roast.  If necessary, use two baking sheets and rotate the pans from top to bottom halfway through roasting.

Make ahead tips:

  1. You can peel and dice the squash a few days in advance.  Store cubed squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. You can roast the squash a day in advance and then reheat it when ready to serve.  To make the squash in advance, follow the directions in the recipe, making sure to roast the squash until just slightly al dente, about 18-20 minutes.  When ready to serve, roast the squash for 12-15 minutes, or until fork tender and heated through, adding the cranberries to the pan during the last 5 minutes.
  3. The dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance.

To cook perfect quinoa:  (Method from cookieandkate.com)

  1. Rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer with cool water and drain well.
  2. Transfer quinoa to a saucepan and add 2 cups of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Immediately reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.  Cook quinoa, stirring occasionally, until all of the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes, reducing heat as necessary.  
  3. Remove pan from heat and cover.  Let the quinoa steam, covered, for 5 minutes.  Remove lid, fluff and season generously with salt and pepper.  Proceed with recipe.


*Nutritional information is an approximation and includes salad plus the dressing

Nutrition Facts
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 462 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 171mg7%
Potassium 756mg22%
Carbohydrates 53g18%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 12965IU259%
Vitamin C 28.7mg35%
Calcium 228mg23%
Iron 3.2mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.