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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

I owe you an apology. I have made this salad multiple times over the last two years and it is just now making it onto the site. Each time I made it was either for a Christmas or Thanksgiving celebration and as you might imagine, with a house full of people waiting to eat and working on getting everything on the table, snapping photos got pushed to the back burner. So this year I made it a point to throw this together early in the season so that I could share it with you – I couldn’t let another holiday season go by without giving you a chance to get it on your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu! This is pretty much the ultimate holiday salad – mixed greens tossed with roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, walnuts and Parmesan cheese, and then dressed with a warm apple cider vinaigrette. It has been a huge hit each time I make it and is one of my favorite holiday dishes.

I fell in love with roasted butternut squash a couple of years ago; you all know I’m not a big vegetable fan and never cared much for spaghetti squash, so I steered clear of all other squash as a result. Then one day I was at someone else’s house and mistook roasted butternut squash for roasted sweet potatoes (which I do like), and I tried it. And loved it. An earthy roasted flavor and a mix of salty, sweet, and whatever seasonings you choose to throw in. So a couple of months later when helping my mom plan a Christmas menu I saw this salad and had to try it. The rest, as they say, is history. It’s been on the menu for every holiday since!

We always serve this as a side salad for holiday meals, but this would also make a lovely entree salad if you are having company over for a casual lunch during the fall or winter. It’s hearty and amazingly flavorful. A big bowl of this with some crusty bread and maybe a glass of wine? Perfect lunch.

One year ago: Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Two years ago: Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Yield: 4 servings (entree salad) or 6 to 8 servings (side salad)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


1 (1 to 1½-lb) butternut squash, peeled and ¾-inch diced
2 tablespoons + ½ cup olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
¾ cup apple cider (can substitute apple juice)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula (or mixed greens), washed and dried
½ cup walnuts, toasted
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Toss to evenly coat the butternut squash. Roast for 20 minutes, turning once, until the squash is tender. Add the cranberries to the pan during the last 5 minutes.

3. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, the vinegar and the shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about ¼ cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, ½ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.

4. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

(Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

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53 Responses to “Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette”

  1. Lea on November 4, 2011 at 12:47 am

    perfect timing! I’ve had a butternut squash sitting on my kitchen counter for 2 weeks; it’s kind of intimidating to those of us who’ve never cooked one. Going to try this salad :)


  2. Laura @ Laura's Sweet Spot! on November 4, 2011 at 1:43 am

    I’ve made this before! It is GREAT. Ina’s recipes are always wonderful.


  3. Jessica on November 4, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Butternut squash and cranberries in a salad?! You have my full attention! This sounds delicious and perfect for the upcoming holidays!


  4. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on November 4, 2011 at 3:37 am

    I wish butternut squash was in season all year long. This looks delicious!


  5. Kathryn on November 4, 2011 at 5:18 am

    This is such a great combination of flavours and perfect after all that heavy holiday food!


  6. Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers on November 4, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Love this salad! Your tongs and bowl are gorgeous!!! Have a great weekend!


  7. The Doll Baker on November 4, 2011 at 7:36 am

    This salad sounds super yummy! I love the pic with the roasted squash and cranberries- makes me want to lick my screen. ♥


  8. Karen@Mignardise on November 4, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I made this recently too and it IS delicious. I thought it might be even better with aged gouda instead of the Parmesan. Perfect for fall!


  9. Stacia Whitney on November 4, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I made this last year for Thanksgiving and it is amazing!


  10. Holly on November 4, 2011 at 8:41 am

    So happy to see this!


  11. amanda @ fake ginger on November 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I don’t love butternut squash but I bet I could eat the entire serving bowl worth of salad. It looks delicious!


  12. Katrina on November 4, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Mmm this is so healthy and tasty looking!


  13. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on November 4, 2011 at 9:08 am

    This looks delicious!!! I love fall salads like this!


  14. Tracey on November 4, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Roasted butternut squash is one of my very favorite things to eat in the winter – this salad sounds amazing!!


  15. Charlie on November 4, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Michelle: This looks good in both ways.
    Can’t wait to try it.



  16. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen on November 4, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Delish! Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.


  17. Bev Weidner on November 4, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I’ve just fainted.


  18. Priyanka on November 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Beautiful..Loved the colorful combination of green and yellow. Super tempting


  19. Anita on November 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    As usual, your beautiful pictures tell a wonderful, tasty story! I can’t wait to try this salad – and I’m so glad I stumbled on your website last summer!


  20. Barbara | Creative Culinary on November 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    The entire dish sounds wonderful but I especially love the apple cider vinaigrette and can’t wait to try it.


  21. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on November 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I have been wanting to make something like this. Looks so yummy for Fall!


  22. Living The Good Life on November 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Squash + cranberries + nuts + maple syrup and parmesan …. what’s there not to love? This is a beautiful salad


  23. easyfoodsmith on November 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Better late than never!! This salad is a beauty…lovely silver cutlery btw :)


  24. lalaine on November 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    delicious!! love this salad thanks for sharing—will definitely make the holiday dinners…


  25. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) on November 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I saw Ina make this the other day and I thought “oh man, I need to have this.” what a gorgeous dish.


  26. Kimberly on November 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Yum! This looks great. Will definitely be on our table too over the holidays. Thanks for sharing!


  27. Marika on November 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I made this today with pumpkin, and it was the best salad I have ever made! Thank you so much. I might link it and advertise it on my blog if you don’t mind :)


  28. megan on November 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Is it possible to make this ahead and just warm the squash and dressing a bit before serving? Oven space is at a premium on Thanksgiving!


    • Michelle on November 4th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      Yes you could definitely do that! Good idea!


  29. Jen of My Tiny Oven on November 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Looks like the perfect salad to me!! So gonna try this, asap!!


  30. Katherine Martinelli on November 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Mmmmm this looks like the ideal Fall salad!! I’ve included it in my Friday Shout-Out and Blog Hop! I hope you’ll stop by and check it out. (This week’s theme is salad!) href=”http://www.katherinemartinelli.com/blog/2011/friday-shout-out-and-blog-hop-salad-recipe/”


  31. Sue/the view from great island on November 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    The colors in this are so refreshing. I’m already craving lettuce and bright colors and I’ve only been cooking fall foods for a month! I’m really interested to try the warm dressing, too.


  32. Mama Zen on November 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    This looks delicious!


  33. Kim Bee on November 5, 2011 at 12:43 am

    This is one beautiful dish. I am so glad you shared it with us.


  34. Ann on November 5, 2011 at 12:55 am

    This is a stunning salad! I LOVE butternut squash and this is a creative way to serve it! Thanks for another winner!


  35. Robin Sue on November 5, 2011 at 8:57 am

    A wonderful salad, will be bookmarking this one! I also love that salad bowl, so pretty.


  36. Angie on November 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    This salad is great. I make it with crushed pistachios instead of walnuts, goat cheese or feta instead of parm, and a lemony vinaigrette.


  37. angela on November 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I love every bite of this including cider vinegar and that you got out your silver.


  38. Ally on November 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I love the sound of butternut squash with cranberries! Arugula is my favorite with salad, too.


  39. Danielle on November 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Where did you ever get this serving set????? It is soo beautiful!!!


    • Michelle on November 10th, 2011 at 1:20 am

      Hi Danielle, It was actually a gift, and I can’t even find anything on the bottom as far as a brand. I adore it!


  40. Brianna on November 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    How does this salad keep? If I don’t eat it all in one sitting, will it not be good later? Also, is it possible to roast the squash ahead and then mix the salad later? Thanks for the recipe – it looks great!


    • Michelle on November 10th, 2011 at 1:22 am

      Well, I for one do not like wilted lettuce, so I wouldn’t eat it leftover. That being said, my grandma LOVED leftover salad. So to each their own I suppose ;-) If you know you won’t eat it all in one sitting, I would recommend just serving yourself however much you want, and dressing it as you go. And yes, you could roast the squash ahead and then reheat it when you’re ready to assemble the salad.


  41. www.citronlimette.com on November 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Sounds delicious. I love the sweetness of the butternut squash.


  42. Colleen on November 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you for posting this. We had it last night for dinner with steaks. We liked it do much and had more butternut squash that we made it again tonight. Thanks again!


  43. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on November 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    This looks fabulous! I can’t get enough of roasted squash on my salads lately. Can’t wait to try your vinaigrette!


  44. Cathy @ What Would Cathy Eat? on November 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    I agree with everyone else – this is the perfect mix of ingredients! I’m hosting a Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge, I hope you’ll link this recipe, or your next Thanksgiving one, to it! http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2011/10/announcing-the-healthy-thanksgiving-challenge/


  45. Cookin' Canuck on November 12, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Michelle, I’m getting together with my cooking group friends and our theme this month is Thanksgiving sides. I sent this to hostess in hopes that we’ll make it together. Looks wonderful!


  46. Eliza on November 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I made this the other night and it was phenomenal!!


  47. Cookin' Canuck on November 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Michelle, we made this salad at my monthly cooking group on Sunday – our theme was Thanksgiving side dishes. Out of the seven wonderful dishes we made, this was the biggest hit. People were scraping their bowls clean to get every last drop. Thanks for such a fantastic recipe!


    • Michelle on November 23rd, 2011 at 10:43 pm

      Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed this Dara, and thanks so much for sharing! I just roasted the butternut squash today to make this for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, it’s always a big hit! Happy (U.S.) Thanksgiving to you! :)


  48. morri on November 13, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I made it yesterday. Wow, talk about a hit with the family! The vegetable stalls in my neighborhood didn’t have any butternut squash, so I used red kuri squash, I also used Gran Padano cheese instead of Parmesan. I will try to make it during the holidays, because my folks have already demanded a repetition – this time a proper one, with butternut squash and Parmesan (I already have a butternut squash, freshly acquired, sitting on the balcony).
    And to anyone who ‘s worried about how the salad would taste after the lettuce wilts: don’t worry about it. We had the leftovers for lunch today, and the salad tasted just as good, it was just a little less pretty :)


  49. Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons on October 29, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Hi Michelle – just wanted to let you know that I featured this recipe (with full credit and a link-back) in an apple cider recipe roundup today on Foxes Love Lemons. Have a great week!



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