This roasted butternut squash salad with quinoa and arugula is the perfect cold-weather salad! Hearty and filling and perfect for meal prep.
The best way to dice a butternut squash
My favorite way to dice a squash is to cut off the ends so it can stand stable on a cutting board and then take a large, heavy, and very sharp knife and cut horizontally from top to bottom in a seesaw motion to protect your fingers.
Deseed the squash with a spoon and then take a good quality vegetable peeler and peel off the skin. Peel at least twice over the same spot to make sure the thick skin is completely removed.
Cut the squash halves lengthwise into 1/2″ strips and then lengthwise again and then start dicing.
How to roast butternut squash for salad
The best way to roast the squash for salad is to dice first, as instructed above, and then drizzle with a high smoke point oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
Spread the dice out evenly on a large baking sheet. The less crowded the better. If the squash pieces are crowded they will rather steam instead of roast.
For best results, the individual pieces shouldn’t touch. Roast at 400F for 35-45 minutes, moving them around with a spatula at the 25-minute mark if possible.
Let the squash cool down completely on the baking sheet before adding to any lettuce or else the lettuce will wilt.
The best lettuce for butternut squash salad
Hands down my favorite lettuce for butternut squash salad is arugula! It’s spiciness contrasts amazingly with the sweet taste of roasted butternut squash and dried cranberries.
If you don’t like arugula, baby spinach is a great alternative though.
How to prep salad for meal prep
Butternut squash salad is fantastic for meal prep. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days without a problem.
Important steps to follow to ensure the salad’s freshness are:
- Use a tall jar instead of a wide container.
- Add the dressing at the bottom, then layer the chunky non-leafy ingredients.
- Add only room-temperature or cold ingredients. You want to avoid steam building in the jar and wilting any greens.
- Place any leafy greens at the top far away from the dressing. This is the best way to keep them crunchy and fresh.
- Place a tight-sealing lid on the jar and place it in the refrigerator.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
- 2 lbs butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 3.5 oz arugula
- 2-3 Tbsp dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 clementine juice only
- 3 sage leaves
- sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
- Peel and deseed butternut squash and cut into 1" (2.5cm) dice. Place on a large baking sheet, drizzle with avocado oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Mix with your hands, then lay out in an even layer and roast for 35-45 minutes or until golden. Then set aside and let cool completely.
- Cook quinoa in the Instant Pot or a regular pot. Here are instructions on how to cook quinoa.
- Wash and spin dry arugula and add to a large salad bowl. Add cooled down roasted butternut squash cubes, cooled down quinoa, chopped pecans and dried cranberries.
- Prepare the dressing by adding olive oil, balsamic vinegar, juice of clementine, chopped sage leaves, sea salt, and pepper to a sealable container and shake to combine.
- Drizzle dressing over salad, toss, and enjoy!
- For meal prep: Add 1-2 Tbsp dressing to the bottom of a tall jar, then butternut squash, quinoa, pecans, cranberries, and top with arugula. Make sure arugula doesn't touch the dressing to avoid from getting soggy. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.