Butternut squash and feta salad is the perfect way to satisfy those autumn cravings while still enjoying the delicious taste of fresh greens. The sweetness of roasted butternut squash, a tangy kick from the salty feta cheese, crunchy walnuts and fresh spinach come together to create a dish that is sure to become a favorite.
This salad is the perfect choice for a side dish or a satisfying lunch. It's a hearty salad that is packed with flavor and perfect for a weeknight or holiday dinner.
Even though you can enjoy this salad any time of year, I call this my go-to healthy fall salad or winter salad.
🤍Why you will love this recipe
- This salad has the perfect balance of flavors. It's sweet, tangy and savory.
- It's a healthy salad that is easy to make, making it perfect to enjoy anytime!
- Versatile! Serve this salad as a side dish or a main course.
Here is what you will need
This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this easy butternut squash salad recipe; scroll down for a printable recipe card with exact measurements and detailed instructions.
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- Butternut squash
- Baby spinach
- Olive oil
- Maple syrup
- Feta cheese
- Honey Orange Dressing (olive oil, honey, orange juice, garlic powder, dijon mustard)
- Parchment Paper
- Y Vegetable peeler
- Large Salad Bowl
How to make butternut squash salad with feta and spinach
Prepare the ingredients: Peel and cut the butternut squash into small cubes that are about ½ inch in size. Chop the garlic, rinse and drain the spinach, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees f. Line a sheetpan with parchment paper.
Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or jar.
STEP 1: Toss the squash cubes in oil and garlic. Arrange the squash cubes in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
STEP 2: .Place the squash in a preheated oven and roast the squash until it turns golden brown; about 30 to 40 minutes.
STEP 3: Let the squash cool for a few minutes and place it into a large bowl with the spinach, craisins, walnuts, and cheese. Add the dressing and toss.
Note: Cooking time can vary depending on the size of the squash cubes. The squash should be soft and slightly brown on the outside.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Spinach - Baby spinach is the best choice for this salad because of its tender texture. But, you can also use mature spinach or any type of salad greens.
Walnuts - These are a great addition to this delicious seasonal salad and add a nutty flavor. Walnuts can be substituted with pecans or seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version.
Garnish the salad with sea salt and black pepper and serve it as a side dish for roasts, grilled meat or seafood.
This roasted butternut squash salad with creamy feta and spinach is also a perfect seasonal salad for your next holiday dinner, such as Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, or New Year's dinner.
Salads are versatile and it's easy to experiment with different flavors to try and create something new!
Whole Grains - Add whole cooked whole grains such as quinoa, farro, barley, or bulgur to add texture and depth to the salad.
Lemon Dressing - Instead of orange juice in the dressing, use an equal amount of lemon juice or use equal parts of orange juice and lemon juice.
Balsamic vinegar dressing - Replace orange salad dressing with maple balsamic dressing.
More Vegetables - Enhance the flavor and add red onion and red bell peppers to the roasting pan.
Add Protein - Add grilled chicken, shrimp, chickpeas or sliced grilled or fried tofu.
Change up the Cheese - Replace the feta cheese with goat cheese, blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese crumbles.
Make it a Main Dish - Top the salad with a sliced grilled or broiled chicken breast.
How to store leftovers
Most salads taste best when enjoyed immediately. If you do have leftovers, store the leftover salad in the refrigerator for up to two days in an airtight container.
If you anticipate having leftovers dress the salad individually to prevent it from becoming too soggy.
- For perfectly roasted squash cut the squash into uniform pieces for even cooking.
- Dress the salad lightly and serve the remainder on the side so that you can add more if needed.
- Assemble the salad just before serving for the best results.
- Look for pre-cut butternut squash in your supermarket to save on prep time.
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While fresh butternut squash will have a better texture, you can also use frozen butternut. Thaw it and pat it dry before roasting it.
If you are combining warm butternut squash with spinach it will wilt a little bit. If you prefer your spinach with a springy texture, let the squash cool off completely before making the salad.
Yes, you can roast the squash ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Keep washed and dried spinach separate, and make the dressing. Just before serving assemble the salad.
Yes, you can us sweet potatoes to make this salad. Roasting time may be quicker. Check the sweet potatoes after they have been in the oven for 20 minutes. They should be slightly golden on the outside and soft in the middle.
Butternut Squash and Feta Salad with Spinach
- 1 Butternut Squash Medium
- 2 cups Packed Baby Spinach
- 1 clove Garlic Chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts Chopped
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 2 - 3 tablespoons Lemon Salad Dressing
- Peel and cut the butternut squash into small cubes that are about one half inch in size. Chope the garlic, rinse and drain the spinach and preheat the oven to 400 degrees f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the dressing ingredients ( 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, ½ teaspoon dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder) in a small bowl or jar.
- Place the cubes of butternut squash into a bowl and toss it with 1 clove Garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 ½ teaspoons maple syrup, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Arrange the butternut squash mixture onto the baking sheet in a single layer and roast until the squash is tender and begins to turn golden brown - about 30 minutes.
- Rinse and drain the spinach and place it into a salad bowl along with the craisins and walnuts.
- Once the squash is roasted, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Add the squash and toss, the spinach should slightly wilt. Add the dried cranberries, drizzle a little bit of the dressing and toss.