A butternut squash salad with roasted squash and pomegranate seeds is a must-try fall salad. A make ahead Thanksgiving salad that’s incredible, healthy and comes together in 30 minutes.
You’ll want to make this showstopper salad with pomegranates anytime of year.
Fall is sneaking up on us and you need to add this beautiful and healthy roasted butternut squash salad to your menu. A salad that’s not only easy to make but is a great side dish for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving and Christmas.
You’ll find this to be a perfect accompaniment for the heavier sides we typically serve during the holidays.
Why you’ll love butternut squash salad
- This unique salad comes together in 30 minutes!
- Butternut squash is a versatile food that’s fun to cook with
- Enjoy adding a pop of color to your salad with delightful pomegranate seeds
- You’ll love eating healthy with all the seasonal ingredients wrapped up in this salad
- This salad is served at room temperature so you can make it in advance and forget about it
I experimented with this recipe when trying to come up with something a little different for a fall dinner with friends. I wanted to have as many things prepared in advance as possible so that I could visit. After all, I’m having friends over to enjoy their company, not to stress out in the kitchen.
I have to admit, this is easier said than done. If it’s summer, I would choose a cucumber and corn salad. Spring, maybe a spinach and strawberry salad, but fall gets a little tricky. I was thinking of a broccoli salad which would work any time of the year, but I wanted something that featured butternut squash.
While you can find butternut squash all year round in the grocery, it’s fresh in the fall to winter. Pomegranate seeds are in season in California from October through January so fall and winter is the ideal time for a salad with pomegranate seeds.
If I can find diced butternut squash, I’ll use it in a heartbeat. Sometimes the grocery won’t have it already chopped and I have to allow for a few extra minutes to peel and chop. I can’t tell the difference in the end product, so go with the pre-cut if you can find it. The same for pomegranate seeds. It’s pretty easy to remove the seeds but I have to say I’m a little lazy most of the time and pick up the little plastic container.
Did you know that pomegranates are unbelievably healthy? We should be making this winter salad all year round just for the health benefits. While they are super healthy, I add them for the tart crunch that compliments the roasted butternut squash in this salad.
What you’ll need to make this seasonal side dish
- Butternut squash – the sweet nutty taste of this winter squash tastes great roasted and combined with other fresh ingredients.
- Pomegranate seeds – these fun red seeds make an excellent colorful addition to the squash and a splash of tart flavor
- Roasted salted pumpkin seeds – these delicious seeds, are excellent in salads for texture and crunch but also offer manganese and vitamin K.
- Za’atar spice blend – a Middle Eastern blend of oregano, thyme, marjarom, sumac and toasted sesame seeds, this is a fun spice to add to your collection and is perfect to add to squash.
- Shallot – this mild onion adds enough flavor without overpowering the salad
- Fresh parsley – this leafy herb adds a pop of color and freshness to elevate all the flavors in this salad
- Pantry staples – honey, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
Pro Tip: to de-seed a pomegranate – cut in half and hold over bowl of water and hit the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon. The seeds will fall into the water and you can scoop them out.
How do you make roasted butternut squash salad
Step 1: Toss the cubed squash in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast at 450º until browned and tender, but not mushy. This will take about 30 minutes and can be done in advance. Remove and sprinkle with za’atar seasoning and let cool for15 minutes.
Step 2: Whisk lemon juice, honey, olive oil and shallots together and mix with squash, parsley and salted pumpkin seeds.
Step 3: Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds just before serving.
I served this with pork tenderloin and everyone loved it. All I had to do when my friends arrived was sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top.
FAQ’s and tips
This beautiful red fruit is widely grown and familiar to people in modern day Iran and northern India but in the US it’s grown in California and Arizona.
Pomegranates are loaded with nutrients and have three times the antioxidants than green tea and is known for reducing inflammation.
Yes, you can eat pomegranate seeds! This is the part of the fruit that is edible – when you cut into a pomegranate you will gain access to these ruby red delicious seeds.
Pomegranates can be used several ways. You can enjoy the seeds by themselves, just scoop up a handful and munch on them. You can add them to cooked dishes and they are great in smoothie bowls and you can drink pomegranate juice as well.
If making in advance, add all ingredients except the pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. Refrigerate and add both right before serving.
Looking for more butternut squash recipes
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 2016
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Butternut Squash Salad Recipe
- 3 lbs butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces, about 8-10 cups
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon Za’atar spice blend
- 1 small shallot minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¾ cup fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup roasted salted pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Place oven rack in the lowest position and preheat to 450º. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until browned and tender, 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove and immediately sprinkle with Za’atar. Let cool for about 15 minutes.
- Whisk the shallot, lemon juice, honey and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. While whisking drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil Add squash, parsley and pumpkin seeds and toss to combine. Arrange on platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Use pre-cut butternut squash to save time.
- Serve room temperature or cold.
- You can make ahead, just sprinkle pumpkin seeds and pomegranate on the salad before serving.
- This will save for a day or two before starting to get mushy, but still delicious.
- If you don’t have Za’atar, you can just season with salt and pepper.