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Beet and Butternut Salad

Roasted beet and butternut squash are paired with toasted pecans, and pickled red onion, then served on a bed of leafy greens and tossed with a simple balsamic lemon vinaigrette. This vibrant salad is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan-friendly.

Roasted beet and butternut salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Whether you’re looking for more side dishes, want to move salads from the side of the plate to the main course, or simply want to eat a variety of colorful vegetables during the fall and winter months, this salad is a great place to start.

The earthiness from the beets becomes minimal once roasted and is nicely balanced by the sweetness from the butternut squash and balsamic.

And because there’s no cheese in this salad, the pickled red onions add a nice tangy element that you’d typically get from a goat or feta-style cheese.

Ingredients

  • Beets – red beets offer a nice contrast against the orange butternut squash, but you could also use golden or Chioggia beets known for their stripey flesh.
  • Butternut squash – choose one that’s smaller in size.
  • Leafy greens – spinach, arugula, baby kale, etc. Choose anything you like.
  • Pickled red onion – either quick-pickled homemade or store-bought.
  • Toasted pecans – add another layer of flavor and a nice crunch.
  • Dressing: extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

How to Make Beet and Butternut Salad

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Peel the butternut squash and cut it into 1/2-inch slices (any shape is fine). Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange them in a single layer on a parchment-lined half-sheet pan.

Step 2. Peel the beets and cut them to a similar thickness as the butternut squash. Toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and arrange them on their own parchment-lined half-sheet pan. Roast the butternut squash for 25 minutes and the beets for 35 minutes.

Step 3. Toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until they smell fragrant. Remove them from the heat, roughly chop them, and set aside.

Step 4. Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.

Step 5. Assemble the salad. Add the greens to a shallow bowl or platter followed by the squash and beets. Toss with the dressing and then sprinkle on the chopped nuts and pickled red onions. Serve immediately.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this butternut squash pizza using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No butternut squash? – use another type of winter squash instead such as delicata, kabocha, or pumpkin.
  • No pecans? – use other nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
  • Make it nut-free – sprinkle with hemp seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
  • No pickled red onion? – use another type of pickled veg or leave it out.
  • Add-ins – a grain such as quinoa to bulk it up, cheese (dairy-free or regular), etc. To enjoy as a main dish, add cooked protein to make it more filling.
  • Variations – use another type of dressing such as orange vinaigrette, honey mustard, or roasted garlic vinaigrette.

Helpful Tips

Make ahead. You can roast the beets and butternut squash in advance as well as make the vinaigrette. Just keep them separate until ready to serve, then toss everything together.

Food waste tip. Roast all of the butternut squash. Even though you won’t need all of it for this salad, just roast it anyway. Otherwise, it’ll get tossed in the fridge and forgotten about, and eventually thrown away.

Enjoy warm or cold. This salad can be eaten warm or cold. If eating it warm, only add as many greens as you’re going to eat. Otherwise, the heat from the roasted vegetables will wilt the greens.

More Fall & Winter Salads

Roasted Beet and Butternut Salad

5 from 1 vote
Plates of colorful beet and butternut salad.
Roasted beet and butternut squash are paired with toasted pecans, and pickled red onion, then served on a bed of leafy greens and tossed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. This vibrant salad is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan-friendly.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Serving Size 4 – 6

Ingredients
 

Salad

  • 1 small butternut squash peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
  • 2 medium beets peeled and cut into ½-inch slices or cubes
  • olive oil for roasting
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 ounces leafy greens of choice such as arugula, spinach, baby kale, etc. about 8 cups
  • cup pecans roughly chopped
  • ¼ – ⅓ cup pickled red onions

Balsamic Lemon Dressing

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
  • Peel the butternut squash and cut it into 1/2-inch slices (any shape is fine). Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange them in a single layer on a parchment-lined half-sheet pan.
  • Peel the beets and cut them to a similar thickness as the butternut squash. Toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and arrange them on their own parchment-lined half-sheet pan. Roast the butternut squash for 25 minutes and the beets for 35 minutes.
  • Toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until they smell fragrant. Remove them from the heat, roughly chop them, and set aside.
  • Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
  • Assemble the salad. Add the greens to a shallow bowl or platter followed by the squash and beets. Toss with the dressing and then sprinkle on the chopped nuts and pickled red onions. Serve immediately.

Notes

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations
No butternut squash? – use another type of winter squash instead such as delicata, kabocha, or pumpkin.
No pecans? – use other nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
Make it nut-free – sprinkle with hemp seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
No pickled red onion? – use another type of pickled veg or leave it out.
Add-ins – a grain such as quinoa to bulk it up, cheese (dairy-free or regular), etc. To enjoy as a main dish, add cooked protein to make it more filling.
Variations – use another type of dressing such as orange vinaigrette, honey mustard, or roasted garlic vinaigrette.
Helpful Tips
Make ahead. You can roast the beets and butternut squash in advance as well as make the vinaigrette. Just keep them separate until ready to serve, then toss everything together.
Food waste tip. Roast all of the butternut squash. Even though you won’t need all of it for this salad, just roast it anyway. Otherwise, it’ll get tossed in the fridge and forgotten about, and eventually thrown away.
Enjoy warm or cold. This salad can be eaten warm or cold. If eating it warm, only add as many greens as you’re going to eat. Otherwise, the heat from the roasted vegetables will wilt the greens.

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