Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Maple-Shallot Vinaigrette
This Roasted Pumpkin Salad is made with a combination of delicious roasted pumpkin, spinach, apple, dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, and an amazing homemade maple shallot vinaigrette that ties everything together! This is the ultimate fall salad that is perfect as an appetizer or side.
Who says cooler weather means the end of salad season? I certainly don’t! As I’m a veggie-loading afficionado, I doubt you’re surprised I eat salads all year around! But what IS unexpected is what I add into this fresh pumpkin salad. That’s right! I’ve found a way to add pumpkin to salad. And it will have your taste buds singing!
If you think salads and immediately think…borrrring—think again! Flavorful salad recipes are my “bread and butter” when it comes to delicious veggie side dishes. Right up there with my other warming sides (think stuffed delicata squash and sweet potato cornbread!), this roasted pumpkin salad hits all the fall flavor notes!
No Basic Salad Here! I’m a firm believer that veggies don’t need to be an afterthought and DEFINITELY shouldn’t be boring. And that’s especially true for salads! But what makes a truly satisfying salad? Layers! This Roasted Pumpkin Salad layers warm, hearty roasted pumpkin (well seasoned, of course!) and crisp diced apple on top of tender baby spinach leaves, sprinkled with crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds, sweet dried cranberries, and then some tangy goat cheese added in for good measure. And to put this combo of textures + flavors + temperatures over the top? A homemade Maple-Shallot Vinaigrette! Adding some zing and zest to this vegetarian salad simply made by mixing sweet maple syrup with savory Dijon mustard and tying it all together with a bit of a bite thanks to the shallots and apple cider vinegar. While this roasted pumpkin salad with spinach does require a bit of chopping, it is on the table in 40 minutes or less. And well worth it!
How to prep your pumpkin for this salad
How to make this salad: a visual step-by-step guide
Suggested adaptations + prep tips
- Use a different squash other than pumpkin. Any winter squash such as butternut squash, Kabocha, acorn, or buttercup, can be used in place of pumpkin in this recipe. Since every squash takes a different amount of time to cook, check the squash at 15 minutes of roasting. Also, some squash, depending on what size you cut it, may take longer than 20 minutes to get tender.
- Instead of pumpkin seeds, nuts such walnuts or pecans would be great in this salad.
- To toast the pumpkin seeds, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the seeds are toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- Instead of dried cranberries, you can use dried cherries, dates, or any other dried fruit you like in place of the dried cranberries. Or skip them entirely if you prefer.
- Roast you pumpkin ahead of time. Since this salad (like most salads) is best enjoyed day of. However, you can roast the pumpkin up to 2 days ahead of time to make this salad easier to throw together. Since the pumpkin is best served warm or room temperature on top of the salad, I suggest reheating it before assembly the dish.
- Make the vinaigrette ahead of time. The vinaigrette can be made 2 to 3 days ahead. Allow to come to room temperature and whisk/shake to emulsify before using on the salad.
Other cool-weather salads and side dish recipes to try
- Fall Fruit Salad
- Lemony Kale + Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Fennel, Apple & Celery Salad
- Warm Kale Salad with Pomegranate & Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Garlic Parmesan Sautéed Shaved Brussels Sprouts
- Crispy Parsnip Carrot Fritters
- 25-Minute Roasted Delicata Squash Slices
- One-Bowl Sweet Potato Cornbread
- The BEST Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Mashed Butternut Squash (sweet or savory)
- Simple Sautéed Butternut Squash
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash
Did you try this salad recipe and now you’re hungry for more?
Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Maple-Shallot Vinaigrette
For Roasted Pumpkin Salad
- 1 medium sugar pumpkin , (or pie pumpkin). About 1½-2 pounds ) or other winter squash*, peeled, seeded, and cut into small bite-sized pieces (6 cups)
- 1½ Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
- 5 ounces baby spinach and/or mixed baby greens/arugula, 6-8 cups
- 1 large apple, diced (I like Honeycrisp or Gala but any kind will work)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds*, optional
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
For Maple-Shallot Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup minced shallot , about 1 medium
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For roasted pumpkin salad
- Heat the oven to 425℉.
- Toss the diced pumpkin with the olive oil, maples syrup, salt, garlic powder, and paprika.
- Spread evenly on a baking sheet, being sure not to crowd the pumpkin. Crowded veggies will steam instead of roast, so be sure to spread the pumpkin out to achieve that roasted flavor and texture. Use two baking sheets if needed.Roast until golden brown and tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool until just warm.
- Arrange the greens on a large platter or in a large bowl. Add the roasted pumpkin then scatter the apple, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and crumbled cheese over the top.
- Once ready to serve, whisk the vinaigrette then drizzle the salad with about half of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add more dressing as needed or serve additional dressing on the side.
For Maple Shallot Vinaigrette
- Add the minced shallot to a small bowl or mason jar.
- Add the remaining ingredients then whisk together to combine.
- Dressing can be stored in the fridge for a week.