Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (2024)

Home / Recipes / Lunch / Salads / Roasted Acorn Squash Salad

Published on October 5, 2015 · Updated on October 14, 2023 · By Aysegul Sanford

Are you ready for autumn? Here is an easy-to-make roasted acorn squash salad with spicy pepitas and cranberries. Roasted acorn squash flavored with arugula, pepitas, and cranberries and topped off with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. This recipe has everything you want in a fall salad.

Yields: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes mins

Cook Time: 30 minutes mins

Total: 45 minutes mins

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Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (1)

Today we are celebrating fall with this roasted acorn squash salad. The true star of the show in this recipe is the Roasted Acorn Squash, which is caramelized in the oven and coated in cinnamon and maple syrup. The fall-inspired flavors of this salad, as well as its beautiful presentation, make it perfect for serving on your holiday table.

If this salad sounds enticing, you’ll love my other seasonal squash salads, like my Ottolenghi Butternut Squash, my Butternut Squash Quinoa, or this Arugula Butternut Squash Salad. Browse through the rest of my Fall Salads for more delicious inspiration and fall recipe ideas.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (2)

Table of Contents show


A few simple, warm fall flavors, like cinnamon and maple, take the acorn squash in this recipe to the next level. The rest of the ingredients pair so well with the sweetness of the squash.

You’ll need three sets of ingredients for this recipe, including those for the roasted acorn squash, the salad dressing, and the salad itself.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (3)
  • For roasting acorn squash, you’ll need 2 small acorn squash (1-1 ½ pounds each), olive oil, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • To make the salad dressing, gather olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • For the salad, you’ll need salad greens, arugula, cooked quinoa (or cooked bulgur/wild rice), dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds.


The beauty of salads is that they’re super customizable to suit your preferences or to accommodate the ingredients you have on hand. Make this fall squash salad according to the recipe, or switch things up to suit your taste buds. Either way, it’s guaranteed to turn out delicious. Here are some suggestions:

  • Oil: I used olive oil in this recipe for its mild flavor, but you can also use avocado oil, coconut oil, or another oil of your choice for roasting your acorn squash slices. You can even use melted butter for an extra rich flavor. For the salad dressing, however, I recommend using olive oil.
  • Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is such a classic fall flavor that gives this seasonal salad a rich sweetness. If you prefer not to use maple syrup or don’t have any on hand, feel free to use an equal amount of honey or brown sugar instead.
  • Lemon juice: We’re using apple cider vinegar in the roasted squash salad dressing to give it an acidic kick and a mild, fall-inspired cider flavor. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, lemon juice will provide a similar acidic flavor.
  • Salad greens: I personally love the peppery taste of arugula squash salad, but sometimes arugula can be difficult to find at the store. If you can’t get your hands on it, baby kale, baby greens, spring mix, or another type of salad green will do the trick.
  • Quinoa: The quinoa in this squash salad is optional, but I love to add it when I want a more filling and hearty salad. If you don’t have quinoa, you can substitute with wild rice, bulgur, or farro. These ancient grains will provide a similar heartiness and will help keep you full for a longer period of time. If you are new to quinoa, be sure to check out my guide on How To Cook Quinoa Perfectly.
  • Cheese: I know that not everyone enjoys the tanginess of goat cheese, so feel free to use a different cheese instead. Feta cheese or parmesan are also perfect pairings with this winter salad.
  • Pumpkin seeds: No salad is complete without a nice crunch! I used pumpkin seeds in this recipe for the crunch factor, but you can also use sunflower seeds or nuts like pecans or walnuts.

How to Make This Recipe

Once you roast the acorn squash, the rest of the recipe comes together in a breeze. Simply whip up the dressing, toss in the greens and toppings, top with the squash, and you’ve created a salad fit for any Thanksgiving table. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven: Set your oven temperature to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (4)
  1. Arrange the squash: Place the squash slices on the sheet pan, taking care to arrange them in a single layer.
  2. Prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and pepper until combined. Brush the mixture on both sides of each squash slice.
  3. Roast the squash: Roast the squash in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, flip the slices, and roast for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool.
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  1. Make the dressing: In a big bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the salad dressing.
  2. Assemble the salad: Add the salad greens and arugula to the large bowl containing the dressing. Give it a toss to coat all the leaves evenly. Add cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, and pomegranate arils and toss again.
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  1. Serve: Transfer to a serving plate and top with the roasted sliced acorn squash, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds. Taste for seasoning and add a little bit more fresh ground pepper or another pinch of salt, if necessary. Serve.

How to Make Ahead & Store

The holiday season is a busy time of year, so it’s great to have opportunities to make recipes ahead of time. The good news is that this winter squash salad is definitely make-ahead friendly! Here are some tips for prepping this recipe ahead of time, as well as some storage suggestions:

  • Make ahead: Roasting the squash is the most time-consuming part of this recipe, so roast it 2-3 days in advance to save time. Once you let it cool, store it in the fridge until ready to use. Just make sure to take the squash out of the fridge before serving the salad to give it enough time to warm up to room temperature. You can also prep the easy salad dressing ahead of time and add it to the greens when you’re ready to assemble.
  • Store: Store the squash arugula salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. The greens tend to wilt fairly quickly as they sit in the dressing, so try to consume it within that time period.

What Does This Recipe Pair Well With

The warm, sweet autumn flavors of this roasted squash salad pair perfectly with turkey for a delicious, picture-perfect addition to any Thanksgiving table.

While it’s perfect for the holidays, this recipe also beautifully complements all of your favorite comfort food dishes for the fall and winter months. A chilly evening calls for this squash salad and a steaming bowl of Vegetable Beef Soup for a light dinner. Or, serve this delicious salad as the perfect side dish for a classic seasonal main dish, like my Chicken Stroganoff, Pot Roast, or Baked Ziti.

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How to cook acorn squash for salad?

The best way to cook acorn squash is to roast it, as roasted acorn squash in salad adds a caramelized, sweet, and nutty flavor profile. Simply roast sliced squash in a 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through.

Do you remove skin from acorn squash?

There’s no need to remove the skin of an acorn squash, as it’s perfectly edible. Roasting the squash also softens the skin and makes it easier to eat.

Other Acorn Squash Recipes You Might Like

If you’re enjoying cozy, autumn-inspired recipes like this acorn squash salad, you’ll definitely fall in love with my other seasonal recipes! Check out the links below for more inspiration.

  • Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash
  • Roasted Kabocha Squash with Sesame Seeds
  • Herbed Goat Cheese Bruschetta with Butternut Squash and Cranberry Jam
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
  • Dominican-Style Pumpkin-Ginger Soup

If you try this Roasted Squash Salad recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.

This recipe was originally published in October 2015. It was updated with new images and helpful text in September 2022 with minor additions (mostly for clarification) to the originally published recipe.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Spicy Pepitas and Cranberries

By Aysegul Sanford

Yields: 6 servings

This Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Spicy Pepitas and Cranberries is an easy to make salad made by roasting acorn squash and flavoring it with pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (8)

5 from 5 votes

Print Recipe


For The Acorn Squash:

  • 2 small acorn squash 1 to 1 ½ pound each, cut in half and sliced into 1-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 3 cups salad greens washed and dried
  • 2 cups arugula* washed and dried
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa bulgur or wild rice*, optional
  • ½ cup dried cranberries roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds optional
  • 4 ounces goat cheese crumbled
  • ½ cup pepitas* aka pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted*


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.

  • Arrange the sliced acorn squash on baking sheets in a single layer.

  • Mix together olive oil, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Brush each acorn squash slice with the mixture on both sides.

  • Roast them in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip them over and roast for another 15 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Let them cool while you are working on the rest of the ingredients.

  • To make the salad dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large salad bowl (this is the bowl you will put everything together).

  • To assemble the salad: Place salad greens and arugula into the bowl with the dressing. Give it a gentle toss to ensure all the leaves are coated with the vinaigrette. Add in the cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, and pomegranate seeds. Toss to combine.

  • Transfer it to a large plate (the one you’ll serve it in)* and top it with the roasted acorn squash slices. Garnish with goat cheese and pepitas (pumpkin seeds.) Taste for seasoning and add more if necessary. Serve.


  • Arugula: While I love the peppery flavors of arugula, it can be substituted with an equal amount of salad greens.
  • Quinoa: You can swap cooked quinoa with cooked wild rice, bulgur, or farro. Or you can omit using it if you do not have any. This salad would still be good without it.
  • To roast pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas): This is an optional step, so if you have the time, I recommend toasting your pepitas. To do so, place pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until it starts to smell. Be sure to keep a close eye on them as they will burn quickly. If you like it spicy, sprinkle them with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Serving Suggestions: You can serve this salad in the bowl that you make. However, I find that roasted acorn squash slices break easily. So, I recommend serving it on a large serving plate (like you see in the photos). This way, not only do they hold their shape, but also your acorn squash salad looks beautiful, complimenting your tablescape.


Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 473mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1111IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 3mg

Course: Salad

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @FoolproofLiving or tag #foolproofeats!

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You might also like:

  • Roasted Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Roasted Delicata Squash

  • Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash Salad

About Aysegul Sanford

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (12)

Hello Friend! I’m Aysegul but you can call me “Ice.” I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

If you’re looking for approachable yet creative recipes made with everyday ingredients, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re all about recipes that have been meticulously tested to provide you with a truly foolproof cooking experience regardless of your level of cooking.

Check out my about page to learn more about me.

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Reader Interactions

    Leave a Reply

  1. Anne Chovi

    Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (15)
    I love this recipe, thank you so much, I’ve made it twice in the last 2 weeks. With respect, the skin after roasting the acorn squash is really hard/tough, inedible even, am I doing something wrong? Or is skin truly meant to be eaten that way?


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Hi Anne,
      I am glad to hear you like this recipe. I am not sure why yours came out inedible. It should have softened during the roasting process.
      Have you tried roasting it a little bit longer to see if it helps?
      Honestly, I can’t think of another reason. Will you give me a little bit more information?


  2. Heidi Borelli

    Hi there!
    I’m wondering why we cannot use the seeds removed from the squash as the topping instead of pumpkin seeds. Are acorn squash seeds edible?
    Thank you so much! I’m hoping for close to zero waste with most of the recipes I’m testing.
    Have the most amazing day,


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Hi Heidi,
      Yes, they are edible. Simply rinse them under cold water in a colander. Dry them as much as you can.
      Drizzle with a tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then pop into a 325-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
      You can do this with butternut squash seeds as well.
      I hope this helps. Thanks for coming by.


  3. Suzy

    Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (16)
    This is the perfect dish for fall! I love the combination of a little bit of sweet and spicy! Congrats on the move and workshop!


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Can’t agree more. Thanks Suzy.


  4. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes

    Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (17)
    This is every bit tasty as it is pretty looking!


    • Aysegul Sanford

      YAY! Thanks so much Ashley.


  5. Lauren Kelly

    Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (18)
    We have made this several times but with feta cheese and it is delicious! It’s the perfect fall salad!


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Hi Lauren,
      I think feta cheese is a great substitute. Thanks for coming by and leaving a review.


  6. Sophie | The Green Life

    Wow! Big news!! I’m sure it must be hard for you to leave this beautiful island, but new beginnings are incredibly exciting and full of hopes! I’m sure amazing things will come your way with this new chapter in your life. And omg this workshop!! It’s SO exciting!! Congrats, you are incredibly talented and you truly deserve it! So many amazing talents in one place. I really really wish I could attend. 🙂 This salad is simply gorgeous. xo


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Oh Sophie.. Thank you so much for all your kind words. Yes, change is hard but you have to got to start from somewhere, right?
      The workshop is so SO exciting. I am looking forward to spending time with the pros and meeting people I admire so much in person.
      I wish you could attend too, but you’ll never know.. My husband is a big fan of your country and jazz. He wants to attend the famous Jazz festival in the next couple of years. Perhaps, we can meet in person when we travel to Montreal. 🙂


      • Sophie | The Green Life

        YES! Please let me know if that happens! It would be amazing! 🙂

  7. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    Oh my goodness Aysegul! So much going on in this post.. from the move, to the workshop to this gorgeous salad! You have been one busy lady and now the packing… First the workshop! What an amazing opportunity and the fact that it will be in your back yard.. even better! I know it’s going to be an encouraging and supportive learning environment for sure. Looking forward to following on IG! Your move.. to your next adventure. How exciting, but bittersweet. Leaving friends and place is hard. And this salad.. so nourishing, perfect and such a delight. You know, I’ve got my eye on those cayenne pepitas! Thank you my dear!


    • Aysegul Sanford

      You know it, Traci. It has been a very busy last couple of weeks. And this is just the beginning.
      Thank you so much for all the encouragement and kind words. I really appreciate your support.
      PS: Those spicy pepitas are OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD. 😛


  8. Pang {circahappy}

    Wow!!! Many Many news from this post 🙂

    But first, this salad is the most beautiful salad EVAH!!! It screams ‘fall’ with a trace of summer. I love all your photos and recipe SO MUCH, Aysegul. If I don’t have plan to be in Thailand at the same time as your workshop, I would have reserved my seat in a heartbeat. So sad 🙁

    By the way, congrats on the new chapter of your life 🙂 I am quite sure wherever you end up, you will be happy there no matter how much you miss the island. Cheers to something new to discover in the horizon 🙂


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Oh Pang.. I wish you could join too. I would have loved to show you around and most importantly exchange ideas about photography. You are one of my favorite food photographers out there. But have fun in Thailand. I cannot wait to see your travel photos.
      Sending lots of sunshine to your way! Thank YOU so much for all your kind words.


  9. Lori Nickel

    So excited for you on so many levels. We will miss you for sure!! Safe travels, xo


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Thank you so much Lori. I will miss you too… Hopefully next time I’ll see you it will be in California.


  10. Stephanie

    Wow, big changes ahead and very exciting ones at that! I can only imagine how amazing living on British Virgin Islands has been. The retreat sounds incredible, wish I could join 🙂 Here’s to new adventures!


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Hi Stephanie.. Yes, big changes are on the way but hopefully they are all good.
      Thank you for your kind wishes.


  11. Suzy | The Mediterranean Dish

    Wow! Congratulations on both news! I hope your move will go smoothly. And I am so excited to hear about the photography workshop. It sounds amazing! Best of luck.


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Thank you Suzy. Moving is a lot of work, but I hope it will go smoothly. The workshop is very exciting and I am looking forward to it.
      Thanks again. Cheers!


  12. Miranda

    Oh yum, it looks so delicious!! I have yet to find acorn squash here in my area, but this would be on my to do list if I find one!!


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Hi Miranda,
      I think this recipe would work with any squash. If you can’t find acorn squash, you can use butternut squash or even pumpkin.
      I hope this helps.
      Thank you!


  13. Beeta @ Mon Petit Four

    How very exciting, love! Change is always a bit sad at first, but I’m sure you two will enjoy your next adventure because at the end of the day, home is where the heart is, no? Plus you will be seeing your family which is so great! 🙂 And that workshop sounds amazing! What a total dream <3 You are so talented, and this salad is just proof. I love how you cut out the squash – it's so very pretty. I was thinking about sharing a butternut squash salad on my own blog, but I don't think mine would look half as pretty as your salad here. It's just so so stunning! Also I love the pomegranate seeds – YUM!


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Awww thank you Beeta.
      First of all, you need to stop thinking that yours will not look good. I like your photography and amazing recipes. You’ll just create a salad that looks different but I am sure it will be just as beautiful. Seriously, stop thinking that way.
      Yes, change is hard, but in this case moving is harder. Our house is a mess, boxes are everywhere, finding things is SO SO hard. But I guess it is all part of the package. Needless to say, we are looking forward to this next chapter of our lives. But I’d be totally fine if I didn’t have to deal with all of this.
      I can’t wait for January for the workshop. I can’t wait to meet Eva and Carey in person.
      I wish you could join us. 🙂


  14. Laura

    Congratulations!! What a big move, and that retreat looks amazing. Welcome back to the US! I’ve been loving roasted squash lately and this salad looks delish – perfect for Fall!


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Thank you Laura! We are so looking forward to it.


Roasted Acorn Squash Salad Recipe - Foolproof Living (2024)


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