Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Goat Cheese

We always have a salad at Thanksgiving, and not just any salad – a salad that earns its place on the Thanksgiving table! This is a vegetarian salad, and you can see below for how to make the salad vegan. Either way, it’s substantial enough to please the non-meat eaters as well as cozy up to the turkey.

Fruit in salad always feels sophisticated and special.  And clever, even though it’s not exactly inventing the wheel.  Here, pears, because they also have a very holiday vibe, and pomegranate seeds, because ditto.  

Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Goat Cheese

And cheese!  I am always happy to see cheese in a salad (though it’s of course optional), from feta to Parmesan to ricotta salata.  In this salad, we welcome lovely chunks of goat cheese.  Add them at the end, and toss lightly, as if you toss them too early and/or vigorously they will blend into the salad, and not stay in distinct little creamy bites.  

Butternut Squash in Salad

If you have leftover cooked butternut squash from a previous meal, this is a great way to use it up.  Just skip the squash roasting instructions below, and use what you have – obviously make sure the seasonings on the squash feel compatible with the other flavors in the salad.

Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Goat Cheese

The butternut squash is cooked until quite tender, and even browned in spots, which gives it that lovely caramelized flavor. It should cool to room temp before you combine it with the other ingredients.

Thanksgiving Salad: This green salad with roasted butternut squash, pears, and goat cheese has tons of color, flavor, and texture. And a definite fall/winter/holiday vibe!

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Ingredients for Thanksgiving Salad

Butternut Squash – if you have leftover butternut squash from another simple recipe, feel free to use it here. Otherwise, roast it up simply, according to the recipe, and the earthy sweetness of the squash will play nicely with all of the other flavors and textures and colors.

Arugula – I like to use baby arugula which has a nice peppery bite, but isn’t too sharp. It pairs beautifully with the fruit in this salad, and the dressing.

Romaine – for the nice crunch and to make the salad lighter. You can sub in other lettuces like red leaf or green leaf lettuce, or if you want a softer salad try butter or bibb lettuce.

Pear – sweet and juicy, love fruit in a holiday salad. Apples are another option – slice them thinly so they provide a delicate crunch.

Goat cheese – creamy and tangy – you could leave it out for a vegan salad, though! You could also trade in feta for the goat cheese, or another soft white crumbly cheese.

Pomegranate seeds – for their sweet tart burst of flavor and beautiful jewel-like red color

Dressing – the pleasantly tart dressing also has a bit of sweetness, and it’s made with oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, shallots and honey (plus salt and pepper , of course!)

Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Goat Cheese: This salad has so much going on in terms of color, flavor, texture, and a definite fall/winter/holiday vibe.

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Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Goat Cheese

Vegan Thanksgiving Salad

To make this salad vegan, skip the honey in the dressing and the cheese, and you have a vegan salad! You could use agave in place of the honey if you want a touch of sweetness.

What to Serve with Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash:

Other Holiday Salad Recipes:

Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Goat Cheese

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Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pears, and Goat Cheese

This salad has so much going on in terms of color, flavor, texture, and a definite fall/winter/holiday vibe.
Yield: 6 People
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Ingredients

For the Roasted Butternut Squash:

  • 4 cups peeled and sliced butternut squash (pieces about 1 x 2 inches, 1/4-inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1 large shallot , minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 4 cups thinly sliced romaine
  • 1 pear , halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions

  • Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, then spread the squash on the baking sheet. Drizzle with the tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss until the squash is evenly coated. Bake for 35 minutes, until the squash is nicely browned in spots and very tender. Set aside to come to room temperature.
  • Make the vinaigrette. In a small container, combine the shallots, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper. Shake to blend.
  • Place the arugula and romaine in a large serving bowl. Add the pears and butternut squash, drizzle over the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add half the the goat cheese andf half the pomegranate seeds and gently toss again. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and pomegranate seeds over the top and serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 152mg | Potassium: 584mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 13358IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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