November 14, 2022

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

With flavors and ingredients of fall and winter such as cinnamon, apples, sage, cranberries and pecans, this warm butternut squash salad is a go-to this holiday season! It's incredibly easy to make and has the best, warm apple cider vinaigrette that compliments the fall and winter flavors so well. This salad is so nutritious yet tasty.

Another thing we love about this salad? You can prep the veggies beforehand, toss them with the vinaigrette and place them in the fridge. When ready to use, just warm up the veggies, add the arugula and fresh parmesan and you're all set!

Let's Talk About Warm Salads

I feel like warm salads don’t quite get the credit they deserve. What makes a warm salad so good is that they include heartier ingredients such as grains, legumes, or substantial vegetables. When the dressing is cooked and dressed while the ingredients are hot, the flavors are much brighter, and they also can seep into the pores of the salad's components, making the flavors come together.

A warm salad is a perfect alternative when looking for an option that won’t weigh you down but still be able to fill you up while providing essential nourishment.

Ingredients to Make the Warm Butternut Squash Salad

This salad will keep your taste buds reacting with every bite bouncing between the sweet-but-tangy flavors of the vinaigrette to the cheesy funk of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the peppery-freshness of the arugula, the sweetness of the cranberries and apples and earthy richness of the pecans and sage.

  • Butternut Squash: As a replacement for butternut squash, you could easily substitute acorn squash, honey nut squash, or sweet potatoes. I would suggest trying a small amount after roasting and adjusting your vinaigrette sweetness accordingly.
  • Apples: While apples provide a nice texture and burst of sweetness in this salad, you can choose to replace them with pears or quince, or leave them out entirely.
  • Dried Cranberries: Raisins and dried cherries are the best replacement for cranberries here, but feel free to use what you want here; other great options include dates, figs, or prunes. The cranberries are the preferred option because of the tart finish they provide to balance the sweetness so if you use a sweeter fruit, perhaps add a few more tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to even it out.
  • Pecans: Walnuts make a great alternative. Just make sure you toast them slightly to bring out that toasted nut flavor.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano: I love to incorporate Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into this salad because it provides some richness and some funky aged flavors. The cheese also combines with the vinaigrette to create a wonderful creamy texture while eating. The best replacement would be Pecorino-Romano cheese if you don’t have any Parmigiano.
  • Sage: The sage is present in this dish in order to jolt your palette with bursts of wintery freshness. Every few bites, you will isolate some sage and blast your senses with the mouth-watering effects of the best scented candle you’ve smelled.
  • Arugula: While other leafy greens can be used in this salad, the peppery flavor that arugula brings is second to none when balancing this salad. The best replacements would be sorrel or watercress.

Tips for the Perfect Warm Butternut Squash Salad

  1. Allow the vinaigrette and squash to cool to room temperature before adding the arugula to prevent the arugula from wilting.
  2. Taste the dressing before dressing the salad and be sure to adjust the flavoring to your liking.
  3. Have fun! We added measurements as it's of course a recipe but if you like more apples, add more. Like less shallots? Then don't include as many. Feel empower to make this your own!

This recipe is great for the Holidays. Cheers and eat well!

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

With flavors and ingredients of fall and winter such as cinnamon, honey, cranberries and pecans, this warm butternut squash salad is a go-to this holiday season.















  • 4 cups of butternut squash (peeled/seeded/large diced)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries
  • ½ cup of pecans (toasted and chopped slightly)
  • ¼ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (grated or shaved)
  • 1 cup of apples (cored and cut into small dice)
  • 4 cups of fresh arugula
  • Salt (to taste) (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Black pepper (to taste) (about ½ teaspoon)

For the apple cider vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup of apple cider
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 small shallots (peeled and small diced)
  • 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh sage (chopped)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  2. Peel, seed, and dice your butternut squash into a large dice and put it into a bowl, and toss the squash with about 1.5 teaspoons of salt, along with the olive oil, the ground cinnamon, the honey, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Once seasoned, place the squash onto a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes until the squash is slightly browned and tender when eaten.
  4. While the squash is roasting, prep the other ingredients by dicing the apples into small dice, peeling and dicing the shallots, grating or shaving the Parmiggiano-Reggiano, and picking and chopping the sage. Set all the ingredients aside.
  5. Grab a baking sheet, place the pecans and roast them for 5 minutes, while the butternut squash continues to roast. After the 5 minutes, let them cool slightly and roughly chop them into pieces. Set aside.
  6. When the squash is about 10 minutes from being done, place a small pot on the stove and heat over high heat for about 30 seconds. Add a splash of oil, followed by the shallots. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook the shallots for about 1-2 minutes or until they are slightly golden and become translucent. Add a few pinches of salt.
  7. Once the shallots are cooked, add both the apple cider and the apple cider vinegar and reduce the mixture, over medium heat, for about 8-10 minutes, or until there is about ½ cup of liquid remaining.
  8. After the liquid is reduced, add the lemon zest, salt, black pepper, and fresh sage, and whisk to incorporate. Finish the dressing by slowly streaming in the olive oil while whisking to create an emulsion.
  9. Once the squash is roasted, transfer them into a large bowl and add the warm vinaigrette. Add the apples, pecans, and dried cranberries, and toss everything together. Allow the squash to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  10. After 5 minutes, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and arugula and toss everything together to evenly distribute the vinaigrette and the rest of the ingredients.
  11. Serve slightly warm and enjoy!

Notes: Ingredient amounts do not have to be exact, so if you have an amount close to what we list when cutting your fruit/vegetables/herbs, go with that.


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August 16, 2021
Rocio Rauda
Best watermelon salad recipe ever!