This delicata squash salad effortlessly combines the nutty, sweet flavor of delicata squash with crisp greens and a medley of complementary ingredients like pecans, red onions, and goat cheese. It's one of the best salads to serve alongside Thanksgiving dinner.
While I love hearty acorn squash casserole, savory bread pudding, or cheesy scalloped potatoes as a Thanksgiving side, there's something about balancing all the carbs out with a hearty salad and tangy dressing.
The textures alone will have you coming back for seconds. Crunchy pecans and pepitas, sweet-tart pomegranate seeds, tender roasted delicata squash, and creamy goat cheese make it the star among all the side dishes.
It's one of my favorite salad recipes, and that's saying a lot!
Not only is it DELICIOUS to eat, but it's GORGEOUS to look at. Just like this roasted delicata squash, it's officially a favorite recipe for holiday meals.
Reasons I Love This Delicata Squash Salad
- Nutrient-rich goodness: Delicata squash is a rich source of vitamins A and C, while the leafy greens provide essential minerals.
- Eating seasonal: Embrace the flavors of fall with this salad that highlights the best of seasonal produce. We often find it at fruit farms and fall farmer's markets this time of the year.
- Adaptable: Customize the salad with more of your favorite fall ingredients or try a different salad dressing.
- Simple and impressive: Impress guests with a stunning dish that requires minimal effort (delicata squash has edible skin!).
- Packed with flavor: all of the flavors and textures stand up against any main course, even our favorite cheesecloth turkey.
If you love a fresh pomegranate salad, try this pear salad with goat cheese.
Do You Keep Skin On Delicata Squash?
The best part about delicata squash is its tender skin, which is not only edible but also adds a delicious texture to dishes like this one. The skin becomes soft when roasted, similar to zucchini, offering a nice contrast to the creamy interior. One of my favorite things is that leaving the skin on also simplifies the preparation process, making it a win-win for both flavor and convenience.
What is the Difference Between Butternut Squash and Delicata Squash?
Butternut squash has tough skin and dense, creamy flesh with a sweet, nutty flavor, often requiring peeling before cooking. In contrast, delicata squash features an edible, tender skin, milder sweet flavor, and a quicker cooking time, making it a convenient and flavorful option for various dishes.
How to Make Roasted Delicata Squash Salad
Here are the step-by-step instructions, with images, for this delicata salad. Skip down to the recipe card below for the full printable recipe.
Roast the Delicata Squash First
Slice the squash: lay the squash flat on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut it in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape the seedy centers out of the middle and discard or save the seeds for roasting. Slice each half about ½-inch thick into half moons.
Season and roast: toss the squash with olive oil, maple syrup, and a few basic spices in a mixing bowl. Spread them out in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast at 425°F for 20 minutes, then flip the squash and roast for another 10-15 minutes.
Note: you could line the baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. However, I love the crispy-golden crust you get from roasting directly on the pan.
Make the Pecans and Pumpkin Seeds
Toss and add to the pan with the squash: mix pumpkin seeds and pecans with maple syrup, olive oil, and salt. When the squash is done, flip it and push some to the side, leaving space for the nuts. Arrange them in an even layer and finish roasting for 5-10 minutes.
Success tip: keep a close eye on the nuts because they can burn easily, especially with the sugar from the maple syrup.
For this salad, I love the tangy flavors of a simple vinaigrette. I added a bit of maple syrup to bring out the sweet maple flavors from the nuts and roasted delicata squash. I also mixed in a bit of cinnamon to compliment the squash and remaining fall ingredients.
Mix it: add all of the ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake to combine. Alternately, whisk it all together in a large measuring glass or bowl. If you prefer balsamic dressing, try the balsamic dressing in this kale apple salad.
Assemble the Delicata Salad
- Fresh greens: use your favorite mixed greens like peppery arugula, crunchy kale, fresh spinach, or even chopped romaine. We also love purchasing store-bought salad mixes.
- Roasted delicata squash: add this to the salad right from the oven or allow it to cool and serve it at room temperature or even cold.
- Nuts: follow the recipe for maple-roasted pepitas and pecans. You could also make paleo candied pecans or simply purchase roasted pecans, walnuts, or pistachios.
- Pomegranate seeds: purchase them deseeded or use this easy way to deseed a pomegranate.
- Golden raisins: they add sweetness to salads, but you can also use dried cranberries or omit them altogether.
- Red onion: quickly slice and add it to the dish for a bite and a crunch.
- Goat cheese: I'm a sucker for creamy goat cheese on any salad. If you want salty cheese, try shaved parmesan or feta cheese.
Expert Recipe Tips
- Start checking the squash 5-10 minutes before the end of cooking and take them out of the oven if they're tender and golden brown.
- Get creative and swap out ingredients and toppings to your liking.
- Shortcut: Buy pre-chopped greens and purchase pomegranate arils instead of a whole pomegranate.
Prep and Storage Instructions
Make the dressing and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. The roasted squash will stay fresh in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Add it to the salad and serve cold. Alternatively, warm in the oven until heated through before serving.
I don't recommend assembling or dressing the entire salad in advance. You're better off prepping the components and assembling them before serving!
Leftover undressed salad will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 days.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Fall Salads
- Shaved brussels sprout salad with apples and dates
- Kale apple salad
- Thanksgiving salad with spiced vinaigrette
- Fall salad with chicken, apples, and butternut squash
- Pear salad with goat cheese
Delicata Squash Salad
Delicata Squash Salad
- 1 Delicata squash halved, seeded, and cut into half-moons ½- 1-inch thick (Note 1)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup divided
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup pecans halves
- ¼ cup raw pepitas
- 6 cups Mixed greens like kale, baby spinach, arugula, or all three
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (Arils from 1 pomegranate)
- ¼ cup golden raisins or craisins
- ¼ cup sliced red onion (about ¼ medium red onion)
- 4 ounces crumbled Goat cheese or feta cheese
Maple Cinnamon Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 garlic clove minced
- Pinch of kosher salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- Large sheet pan
- Glass jar or bowl for mixing the dressing
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Add the sliced squash to a medium bowl and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top along with 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon kosher, and the smoked paprika and chili powder. Toss well to coat the squash in the seasoning.
- Arrange the squash in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, stopping to flip at the 20-minute mark.
- While they're roasting for the first 20 minutes, mix the pecans and pumpkin seeds with the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, and salt in a small bowl.
- At the 20-minute mark, carefully remove the squash from the oven and use a spatula to carefully flip each half moon. Push them slightly to one side, keeping them in an even layer, and add the pecans and pumpkin seeds. Finish roasting for 5-10 more minutes, until the nuts and seeds are toasty and the squash is golden brown and tender. Keep a close eye on the pecans and pumpkin seeds to ensure they don't burn.
- While they’re roasting, add all of the dressing ingredients to a jar or bowl and shake or whisk well until combined.
- When you're ready to serve, assemble the salad. Add the kale, pomegranate arils, golden raisins, and red onion to a large bowl. Pour half of the dressing on top and toss to coat.
- When the squash and seeds are done allow them to cool slightly then add them to the top of the salad. You could also serve this with room temperature, or even cold, squash. Finish with the crumbled cheese and the remaining dressing. Serve right away.