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Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad

A beautiful salad that’s perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

This recipe for a Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad is perfect as a fall or winter side dish. Serve with Sunday dinner or at any holiday meal.

This winter salad combines the sweetness of roasted butternut squash and fresh apples with the nutty flavor of candied pecans, the saltiness of feta cheese, plus a sprinkling of sweet and tart pomegranate arils. This is all paired with kale tossed in a light apple cider vinaigrette that ties it all together and keeps it from being too sweet or too salty.

Roasting the butternut squash not only brings out their natural sweetness, but also adds depth to the flavour of this colourful salad.

This roasted squash salad may seem like more work than you have time for during this busy season, but it’s worth it! This green salad can be served as a vegetarian entree or as a side dish to any meal.

For Thanksgiving dinner, serve it alongside turkey and stuffing; at Christmas dinner, serve it with ham; on New Year’s Eve with roast beef and veggies—you get the idea!

I love how the fresh fall flavors of butternut squash and apples come together in this roasted butternut squash & apple salad recipe! It’s a great side dish for any occasion. Plus, it tastes even better the next day!

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.
A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

What is the Best Way to Roast Butternut Squash?

Butternut squash can be tricky to peel and cut, but I’ve figured out the easiest way to do it! I’ve shared that and many more tips for making the BEST roasted squash ever in my recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar & Herbs.

You can follow that recipe but do leave out the brown sugar and herbs when roasting squash for this recipe. It’s better to keep the flavour of the squash pretty simple as we are bringing together so many other flavours together.

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

What Type of Kale is Best for Salads?

We chose to use Curly Kale for this salad, it is a bit tough but softens up nicely once dressed. A good alternative is Tuscan Kale which is more tender but can be harder to find. Curly Kale is everywhere which is why we went with it here.

You might be a little wary of eating raw kale, which can have a bit of a bitter flavor. Tossing the kale in vinaigrette mellows the kale and softens it up nicely. I love Kale in salads because it stays sturdy and crunchy, which means it holds up well stored in the refrigerator for a day or two after assembling.

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

What is a Good Substitute for Kale in Salad?

I get it, not everyone loves Kale. If you dislike Kale you can still make this salad by using other hardy leafy greens! Try one of these Kale substitutes instead:

  • Spinach
  • Baby Spinach
  • Collard Greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Mustard Greens
  • Endives

Avoid more delicate greens like iceberg and boston lettuce as they won’t hold up as well in such a hearty salad.

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

How to Make Candied Pecans for Salad

Making candied pecans for salad is really simple. A lot of recipes roast the pecans in the oven, however, they can be made just as easily in a frying pan and in only 10 minutes.

To make the candied pecans, we start by toasting the pecans in a pan, then simply combine the brown sugar with spices and salt with the pecans. Heat everything up until it melts, and then add a little water.

Cook for a few minutes while the glaze thickens then transfer the pecans to a parchment lined plate to cool. Once cool, break apart any nuts that have stuck together.

You can make these in bulk and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

You can also use maple syrup or regular sugar to candy the pecans, I think the brown sugar gives a nice buttery flavour though.

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

Why are my Candied Pecans Sticky?

Your pecans will be a bit stick while warm, but once they have cooled down, the glaze should harden.

If they are still sticky once cooled, it means you didn’t let the glaze get hot enough. To fix, simply place the pecans back into your pan and cook a little longer.

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

How to Store Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad can be stored in an airtight container for up to four day in the fridge.

You may want to pick out the squash prior to serving again to reheat quickly in the oven. You can also eat it cold, but personally I think it is best when the squash is warm.

To reheat, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap leftover cubes of roasted butternut squash in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until warmed through.

Return the squash to the salad and gently toss to mix.

candy pecans, diced apples, roasted squash, pomegranate arils, and feta cheese on a bed of kale on a platter.

About the Ingredients for Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad

This kale salad features a variety of different components that come together to make a perfect fall side dish for any holiday table.

Butternut Squash – You will want a 2.5 to 3 pound squash for this recipe. You should get about 4 cups worth of cubed squash.

Butter – Melted butter will give you the best flavour but you can use olive oil or any other neutral flavoured oil for roasting the squash.

Salt & Pepper – We want to keep the roasted squash simple so season it simply with salt and pepper.

Pecans – I chose to use pecan pieces, but you could use pecan halves instead. Walnuts would be a good replacement for candied pecans. If you want to skip the sugar, replace with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Brown Sugar – You can use any sugar really to candy the pecans, but brown sugar with a little cinnamon is ideal for this salad.

Kale – Curly leaf Kale is what we chose to use. Kale leaves handle other hearty ingredients really well. See above for details.

Apple – I chose Royal gala as they are crisp and sweet which is what we want. I think sweet apples like pink lady work best here but a crisp, tart apple like granny smith apples could be interesting too. The key is to choose crisp apples. Toss your apple chunks in a little lemon water after chopping to keep them from going brown.

Pomegranate – You will want about half of a medium pomegranate. Dried cranberries are a really great substitute if you prefer those!

Cheese – We are using Feta cheese, but you could use creamy goat cheese or even blue cheese crumbled up instead.

Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar works best with the flavours of the salad, you can use balsamic vinegar instead if you like. I probably wouldn’t use lemon juice here, but that is also an option.

Dressing oil – For homemade salad dressing you want to use god extra virgin olive oil. Sunflower oil or peanut oil will work well too.

Mustard – Dijon mustard adds a little flavour to the dressing.

Optional: If you want to bulk up this fall salad more then consider adding wheat berries or quinoa.

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

Looking for More Fall Recipes Made with Squash?

Check out some of my favourite squash recipes:

Roasted butternut squash with brown sugar and herbs is a tasty side dish for any fall menu. You will love this perfectly caramelized squash!

This Roasted Squash with Cranberry-Maple Glaze recipe makes for a perfect autumn side dish. A delicious Thanksgiving side dish!

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with goat cheese, cranberries and other drool worthy ingredients tossed in a delectable homemade lime-soy dressing!

A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad

Yields: 6 Servings | Prep time: 15 Mins | Cook time: 30 Mins

Ingredients:

  • Medium Butternut squash, 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup Butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup pecan pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
  • ·4 packed cups curly kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 medium apple, chopped into ½” wide wedges
  • ½ cup Pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the butternut squash with melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a bowl. Arrange squash on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 45-50 minutes or until the squash is tender and starting to brown.

In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans until they are fragrant, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, remaining salt, and cinnamon then cook, while stirring constantly, until the brown sugar has melted. Add 2 tablespoons of water and continue to cook, continuously stirring about 2 more minutes. The pecans should be coated in glaze with no liquid left in the pan. Transfer to a plate in a single layer to cool.

In a large bowl, combine kale, roasted butternut squash, apple, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, and candied pecans.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and mustard. Whisk until thoroughly blended and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour desired amount of dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Serve while squash is still warm.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad
Yield: 4-6 Servings

Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

A beautiful salad that’s perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

Ingredients

  • Medium Butternut squash, 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup Butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup pecan pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
  • ·4 packed cups curly kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 medium apple, chopped into ½” wide wedges
  • ½ cup Pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the butternut squash with melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a bowl. Arrange squash on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 45-50 minutes or until the squash is tender and starting to brown.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans until they are fragrant, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the brown sugar, remaining salt, and cinnamon then cook, while stirring constantly, until the brown sugar has melted. Add 2 tablespoons of water and continue to cook, continuously stirring about 2 more minutes. The pecans should be coated in glaze with no liquid left in the pan. Transfer to a plate in a single layer to cool.
  5. In a large serving bowl, combine kale, roasted butternut squash, apple, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, and candied pecans.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and mustard. Whisk until thoroughly blended and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Pour desired amount of dressing over salad and toss to combine.
  8. Serve while squash is still warm.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 502mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g

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A beautiful salad that's perfect for fall, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad recipe features candied pecans and feta cheese.

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