Perfectly roasted pumpkin served over a bed of spring mix and topped with maple candied walnuts, feta crumbles, pomegranate arils, and an easy-to-make balsamic maple vinaigrette. This healthy pumpkin salad is full of fall flavors and is sure to impress! Serve as a side salad or add protein to make it the main course!
Say hello to the perfect fall salad! It's a warm and cozy, but healthy, salad that brings all the delicious flavors of fall! Made with simple ingredients that are bursting with flavor, this salad is sure to impress and is perfect for any night of the week, especially Thanksgiving! The pumpkin can be swapped for butternut squash, if preferred!
Best ever pumpkin salad recipe
I love this pumpkin salad for so many reasons, but here's a few!
- Great as a side salad or served as the main course. This salad is sure to impress as a side salad! But it's also delicious topped with grilled chicken and served as the main dish.
- Easy to make. Peeling and dicing the pumpkin is the most time-consuming step in this recipe, but still takes less than 10 minutes.
- Healthy, fresh, and flavorful. This truly is the perfect Fall salad and would be perfect for Thanksgiving! Your guests will be swooning. It's made with fresh ingredients and the perfect easy-to-make dressing that's only lightly sweetened with maple syrup.
Roasted Pumpkin Salad Ingredients
- Pumpkin (butternut squash would also be great) - make sure you're buying a pie pumpkin, also known as a sugar pumpkin.
- Maple syrup (or honey) - Make sure you're using real maple syrup and not pancake syrup, which is just artificially flavored corn syrup.
- Spinach and spring mix (or your favorite salad mix)
- Feta (blue cheese or goat cheese would also be great)
- Pomegranate arils (or dried cranberries) - Instead of buying a whole pomegranate, save time and just buy the pomegranate arils (seeds)!
- Dijon mustard
- Apple cider vinegar
- Olive or avocado oil
- Walnuts (or pecans)
- Black pepper
Pumpkin salad dressing
The dressing for this pumpkin salad is super simple to make with just six pantry staple ingredients. This dressing is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and shaken with dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and avocado oil. It really elevates this healthy pumpkin salad!
Here's what you need: avocado (or olive oil), apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
How to make my healthy pumpkin salad
This salad is super easy to make, yet so delicious! Here's an overview on how to make it. Scroll down to the recipe card for full instructions.
- Roast the pumpkin - Peel and cube the pumpkin then roast on a baking sheet until golden brown and tender.
- Candy the walnuts - Cook walnut halves and pieces on the stove with maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt.
- Make the dressing - Made with just 6 pantry staple ingredients. Add to a jar and shake until combined.
- Assemble the salad - Start with a bed of spinach and spring mix then add the roasted pumpkin, candied walnuts, feta, pomegranate arils, and the dressing!
How to peel and dice a pumpkin
To make the pumpkin easier to peel and cube, place the whole pumpkin in the microwave for 2-3 minutes to slightly soften. Cut in half or quarters, then remove the seeds. Use a large chef's knife to cut the skin off, then cut the pumpkin into 1-2 inch cubes.
Here is link to a more in-depth guide on how to peel and cube pumpkin.
- Add the dressing right before serving - If you add the dressing too soon, the lettuce will become soggy.
- Don't overcook the pumpkin - the pumpkin can become mushy and fall apart easily if overcooked. Make sure you don't overcrowd the sheet pan and that the pumpkin is evenly spread out so that the pumpkin roasts instead of steaming. The pumpkin is done cooking when it's golden brown and fork-tender.
- Serve warm or cold - I like to serve the salad when the pumpkin is still warm, but it's also great with room temperature or cold roasted pumpkin.
- Use real maple syrup - Make sure you use real maple syrup, not pancake syrup, which is just artificially flavored corn syrup.
- Nuts - pecans would be a great substitute or you can leave out nuts altogether!
- Feta - goat cheese or blue cheese would also be delicious.
- Pomegranate arils - dried cranberries are a great alternative.
- Pumpkin - butternut squash would also work really well.
- Add protein - This salad is really good topped with grilled chicken!
Frequently asked questions
Do you peel pumpkin before or after roasting?
Peel and cube the pumpkin before roasting. To make the pumpkin easier to peel and cube, place the whole pumpkin in the microwave for 2-3 minutes to slightly soften. Cut in half, then remove the seeds. Use a large chef's knife to cut the skin off, then cut the pumpkin into 1-2 inch cubes.
Can you roast all pumpkins?
The best pumpkins for roasting and eating are smaller pumpkins, about 2-5 pounds. Often labeled as a "pie pumpkin" or "sugar pumpkin".
Does roasted pumpkin need to be refrigerated?
Yes, roasted pumpkin should be refrigerated.
How long does pumpkin last in the fridge after roasting?
Roasted pumpkin can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
When to add the dressing to pumpkin salad?
Add the dressing right before serving! I like to toss the lettuce with half the dressing, add the toppings, and then drizzle the rest of the dressing over the top. Adding the dressing too soon will cause the lettuce to become soggy.
This is a great make-ahead recipe!
- Roast the pumpkin - follow the instructions to roast the pumpkin and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. The pumpkin can be served cold on salad or reheat in the oven until warm.
- Candy the walnuts - follow the instructions, then store in an airtight container on the counter.
- Make the salad dressing - follow the instructions then store in the fridge for up to one week.
Assemble the salad right before serving!
More pumpkin recipes you'll love!
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Roasted Pumpkin Harvest Salad with Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette
Roasted Pumpkin Salad
- 2-3 pound pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes (or butternut squash)
- 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces spinach and spring mix (or desired amount)
- 4 ounces feta, crumbled (or desired amount)
- ½ cup pomegranate arils or dried cranberries (or desired amount)
Maple Candied Walnuts
- 1 cup walnut halves and pieces
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- pinch of salt
Maple Balsamic Dressing
- ¼ cup avocado or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Transfer the cubed pumpkin to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup then sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss all together. Spread out on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tender, but not mushy.
Maple Candied Walnuts
- While the pumpkin roasts, prepare the walnuts and dressing. Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts, maple syrup, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until syrup is caramelized and nuts are toasted, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer to parchment paper and spread out the nuts. Let cool.
Maple Balsamic Dressing
- All all dressing ingredients to a jar and shake well to combine.
- To assemble the salad, add the spring mix to a serving bowl and drizzle with half the vinaigrette, then toss to combine. Top with roasted pumpkin, feta, candied walnuts, pomegranate arils, and more vinaigrette.
- How to peel and cube a pumpkin: Here is a link to a helpful guide.