A salad loaded with roasted squash, chunky veggies, crunchy almonds, and chewy dried cranberries is my perfect meal.
The balsamic-based vinaigrette just seals the deal because I could literally drink balsamic. No shame.
Yes, I make a ton of cookies, cakes, gooey stuff, and desserts dripping in chocolate, but when it comes right down to what I crave, it’s plants. Really it is.
Since I don’t have a supersonic metabolism, filling up on veggies rather than brownies is how I can still bake as much as I do, yet fit into my clothes and through doorways. Always good.
I roasted a kabocha squash, my favorite squash, and diced it. Kabocha can be a bit tricky to find, and any hearty winter squash like butternut, buttercup, or acorn will work.
I recommend roasting the squash whole. Turn on the oven, place squash on a baking tray, and roast for about 45 minutes, or until it has some give when you squeeze it. This whole-roasting method is so much easier than trying to hack through a rock hard raw squash, scoop out stubborn seeds and filaments, and it allows the squash to behave as it’s own self-steaming unit.
After about 45 minutes, you’ll be able to easily glide your knife through the soft flesh, and you can clean it without struggle. If it happens to be a little undercooked or firm, put the halves back on the baking tray and roast until soft.
Prepare a bed of greens, add diced carrots or other favorite vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, Brussels’s sprouts or whatever you love. Then add the diced squash, cranberries, and almonds. If you have other dried fruit like golden raisins or apricots, walnuts or pecans, sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Use your favorites.
Salads like these are a great way to use up odds and ends in your fridge or freezer from random frozen peas or corn to cucumbers or avocado. The more veggies, the merrier.
I drizzled the salad with an easy whisk-together vinaigrette that takes seconds to make. Use your favorite dijon or brown mustard, whisked together with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and salt, before whisking in olive oil.
Vinaigrettes and salad dressings are so personal, and even when I try, they don’t come out exactly exactly the same every time. Probably because I rarely measure the ingredients, but also my tastes vary on any given day, so tinkering around with the balance of flavors is key.
Some days I want more acid and a bigger squirt of lemon (or orange) is preferred. Other days I need more sugar, or more salt, or sometimes I want a really pungent blast of balsamic with very little oil.
Play around with the ratio of ingredients until you hit on a flavor combo that you enjoy.
I’m all about texture, and this is my kind of salad with so many diverse textures included. The soft, slightly warm squash is a great contrast to the cool greens.
The almonds add a hearty crunch and contain plant-based protein and healthy fat to stay full and satisfied, while the cranberries add tart sweetness and chewiness.
The balsamic vinaigrette is punchy and packed with tangy, intense flavor. The mustard and lemon take a backseat to the robust balsamic vinegar.
I need a couple tablespoons of brown sugar to balance the flavors. Sweet, tangy, sour, and savory, all in one and the olive oil adds a comforting touch.
Eating vegan, gluten-free, and sticking to your healthy resolutions is easy when your meal leaves you satisfied.
I could eat this every day and not get sick of it.
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Roasted Winter Squash, Cranberry, and Almond Salad with Lemon Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette
A salad loaded with roasted squash, chunky veggies, crunchy almonds, and chewy dried cranberries is my perfect meal. The soft, slightly warm squash is a great contrast to the cooling greens. I used kabocha, use your favorite squash, and follow the easy whole-roasting method outlines. The almonds add a hearty crunch and contain plant-based protein and healthy fat to stay full and satisfied, while the cranberries add tart sweetness and chewiness. The balsamic vinaigrette is punchy and packed with tangy, intense flavor. The mustard and lemon take a backseat to the robust balsamic vinegar. Sweet, tangy, sour, and savory, all in one. Use my recipe as a guideline, and then tinker with the ratios of ingredients that taste best to you. Eating vegan, gluten-free, and sticking to your healthy resolutions is easy with satisfying meals like this. Use the recipe to clean out the odds and ends in your fridge or freeze and mix-and-match with your favorite veggies.
- 1 winter squash, roasted, cleaned, and diced into 1-inch cubes (kabocha, butternut, buttercup, acorn, etc.)
- 2 cups mixed salad greens
- half of 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or craisins, golden raisins, raisins)
- 1/2 cup almonds (I used unsalted raw almonds, use your favorite nut; lightly toasted if preferred)
Lemon Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette
- juice of half of 1 large lemon, about 2 to 3 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon or brown, grainy mustard
- 1+ tablespoon(s) brown sugar, or to taste
- 1+ teaspoon(s) salt, to taste
- about 1/3 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375F. Wash squash and place it whole on a baking sheet. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until squash has some give when squeezed.
- Slice squash open vertically, remove seeds and filaments; discard.
- Squash flesh should be fork-tender and soft. If it’s not quite done, return halves to the baking sheet, cut side up, and continue to bake until done. Butternut sometimes takes longer than kabocha, buttercup, or acorn, closer to 60 minutes rather than 40-45. Baking times will vary based on squash size.
- Dice about 1 cup squash into 1-inch pieces for the salad; set aside. Extra squash can be stored for up to 5 days airtight in the refrigerator. Try any of these 12 squash recipes for the remainder, or just eat with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar, or dunked in extra vinaigrette.
- Place salad greens on a large plate.
- Evenly sprinkle with diced squash, carrot, cranberries, and almonds; set aide.
- Lemon Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette – In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except the oil and whisk to incorporate.
- Slowly drizzle in the oil and whisk vigorously to incorporate.
- Taste dressing and see what it needs and adjust accordingly.
- Drizzle over salad and serve. Extra dressing will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Re-whisk before using the leftover portion on future salads.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 255mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 6gSugar: 29gProtein: 5g
How to Roast Spaghetti Squash and 12 Healthy Squash Recipes
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Raw Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon and Herb Dressing (raw, vegan, GF)
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Homemade Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction (vegan, GF) – Save money and stop buying overpriced balsamic reduction. Make your own in 10 minutes with this fast, easy, foolproof recipe
Lemon Rosemary Coconut Oil Roasted Vegetables (vegan, GF)
25 Healthy Lightened Up Dinner Recipes – Tis the season for resolutions and here are some lighter ideas. All are vegetarian, and many are vegan and gluten-free. All are easy, do-able, and satisfying
Is the nutritional information correct?????? It seems off. Thanks.
It takes into account all the dressing which you likely won’t use all at once and will have plenty left over.
Now this has my name all over it!! I absolutely love vibrant salads like this :) the roasted squash is perfect!
Gorgeous salad! And such a great combination of flavors!
You don’t know this but you are my friend! I was lucky enough to stumble upon your site several months ago and it has become my FAVORITE go-to site. I truly appreciate all the time and energy you put into your blog. It is evident that you care so much about not only the content but about your readers! I love all the tips you take time to add, all the beautiful pictures, the way you stay current and relevant (you just “know” what we want to see next!), your writing style, and well just about everything about Averie Cooks. I have tried probably a dozen or so of your recipes and each one has been amazing! I love, love, love all the sweet stuff but now I’m really loving the savory stuff you’ve been posting!
I read all your posts and the comments from your readers. I know most of the comments are from people who have yet to try the recipe. Well, I always want to hear from someone who has actually tried it so I’m going to be that person today! Mind you, I have never commented on ANY blog before. :)
I made this salad yesterday and we (hubby, sister-in-law, me) LOVED it! All the flavors together were AH-Mazing! The salad dressing was soooooo good! I, too, could drink balsamic. :) I have already had requests to make it again today. Good thing I knew I would love it and doubled up on the dressing.
Can I tell you that I also tried the Cheese, Black Beans & Corn Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Avocado Crema? OMGosh! Made them twice already. The avocado crema is a MUST and I can pretty much drink that up too. It really makes that dish. LOVED it!
Now do you know why I call you my friend? I feel like we know each other. Your taste buds seem like mine! My kids (2 teenagers) hear me say, “Averie says…” all the time.
I am SO sorry for the long post. I didn’t intend for it to be that way. Let me just add that I became mostly vegetarian (sometimes fish) last June and I think that’s how I found you. You had me at the Raw Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls. :)
What a lovely comment and thanks for reading, appreciating the time and energy that I put into my site and recipes, and for trying the recipes, and then writing back! It’s always so helpful when I read blogs to hear from ppl who have actually made the recipe, and it’s great that you’ve tried this one and took the time to write. Glad you love the dressing & doubled it up!
And that the sweet potatoes & dough balls also get high marks. That’s wonderful and thanks so much for your support! :) Glad you’ve been enjoying the savory stuff, too!
Seriously, this salad looks almost too pretty to eat!! Now I’m definitely in the mood for a big juicy salad!!
Thanks, Jocelyn! You are so sweet :)
Ugh, I have the slowest metabolism. I’m always eating tons of vegetables too. This looks incredible and it’s great that it is so versatile. I could drink balsamic too.
I wanted to make this because my own variations have come close, but never this exact combo. Love the lemon in the vinaigrette–I have extra and will be eating it again tomorrow! I roasted a kabocha for myself, but…..Jon doesn’t really care for it. I made him try another bite just to be sure, but he said he wouldn’t ever have a craving for it. Crazy man. I was utterly shocked because he loves sweet potatoes (so that’s what he got on his salad). Oh well, more kabocha for me!! Anyway, this was a big bowl of colorful goodness with great flavors and texture. Your recipes made my weekend meals easy, delicious, and of course fun! :)
So glad you made this and liked the vinaigrette and have extra for tomorrow, too. It’s funny how some people have strong feelings regarding kab squash and sweet potatoes. Scott is the same way although he’ll eat both, he much prefers sweet potatoes. I like both but I think squash is a better ‘value’ so that way I get to eat more…cookies later on :)
The colors of this salad are so vibrant and beautiful! We defiantly need some more color in Portland! This will add a touch to our bright sunny day!
I could eat this everyday, too! Maybe I should… instead of brownies 4 times a week. Winter isn’t going to last forever! I need to be able to fit through the doorways in the summer time.
This recipe is so colorful and very eye-appealing! Have a great and wonderful weekend with your sweet little family, Averie. (=
Thanks for saying hi, Gloria! I pinned something of yours last night I saw floating around that looked so good and was thinking of you :)
For me the trickiest part about kabocha isn’t finding it. It’s slicing that bugger! GREG
That’s why I roast it whole! You can just slice through that thing like butter after 45 mins and never run the risk of losing a limb again :)
This is such a pretty salad! And that dressing – can I just drink it?! Lemon and balsamic sound so good. This is perfect for making all those resolutions easy!
I love balsamic stuff so much I could drink it too :)
This looks like the perfect winter salad! Especially since it’s 80 degrees here today
I know I’m in my 2nd floor loft and it’s 85F up here as I’m editing right now. But NOT Complaining!! :)
This looks amazing!! I’m a huge balsamic fan too, and with dried cranberries it’s the best! Love the squash in here too. Such a perfect winter salad. Pinned!
thanks for pinning! :)
I also always change the ratio of my salad dressings, but most of the time it’s about 50-50 vinegar-olive oil. This salad looks pretty – it’s nice to eat with my eyes first :)
I was just showing my mom your spaghetti squash post and looking at other butternut squash recipes. She just bought a few and wants to make some new things! This salad looks gorgeous!! So beautiful, almonds and cranberries are some of my favorite things in salads! And vinaigrettes are so personal, there are few I really enjoy myself.
That is awesome that your mom wants to try it!! LMK what you guys think!
And vinaigrettes are so personal <--- amen! I have to remind ppl of that so they season/make it to taste :)
i am now dying to try the Kabocha squash. I’ve seen it in the store but never knew! Great and colorful salad :) Pinned.
Thanks for the pin, Liz, and if you’ve seen kabocha, BUY IT! They’re hard to come by and amazing!
Such a gorgeous salad Averie!!
Oh Averie! This looks so delicious! I love salads like this and yours is just perfect!! I have 4 butternut squash that need to be used and I need to make a salad like yours. I love the dressing!
I know you make some great squash recipes too! Thanks for stopping by and saying hi! :)
I want to jump into my computer screen and eat this salad. Gorgeous colors!
I was just showing my mom your spaghetti squash post and looking at other butternut squash recipes. She just bought a few and wants to make some new things! This salad looks gorgeous!! So beautiful, almonds and cranberries are some of my favorite things in salads! And vinaigrettes are so personal!!
Averie, you’re my go-to girl for sweets! It’s great to see what you eat the majority of the time! Every baker needs a great arsenal of salads. It’s all about balance.
Yea I actually do love veggies and have to love them or I’d never fit in my clothes with all the sweets around :) Thanks for saying I’m your go-to for sweets! xo
What a gorgeous salad! Beautiful pictures as well. Putting this on my To Make list!
Beautiful photos! And great idea to roast the squash whole … thanks!
Whole roasting is a savior!
The Colours of your Salad are so lovely
It looks Fabulous
Will have to make it
Can I just say – GORGEOUS!!! I love all the flavors! Pinned!
Thanks for pinning!
Such a beautiful, colourful salad! Pinned and I can’t wait to try it. Great tip on roasting the squash whole, I’ve been in way too many dangerous situations trying to cut a squash raw and no matter how sharp the knife, those guys just don’t budge! Going to try this next time.
Whole roasting is a savior & you will never have those omg really close calls could lose a hand, wrist or 4 fingers moments. Been there. Thanks for pinning!
Dried Cranberries and Almonds are my favorite thing to add to salads. I’m like you, always craving salads or soups. In fact, that is almost all I ate when I was pregnant! :) Pass on the shakes, just give me the salad. Weirdo, I know!
Loving this salad Averie, the colors are beautiful and make the picture pop! Pinning!
Thanks for pinning & that’s amazing you liked veggies when you were preg. It was the ONE TIME in my life I craved cheesey salty white carby food. That is not something I ever want!! but give me some white bread, crackers, pizza crust, I was so happy :)
TOTALLY my kinda meal & such pretty photos Averie! Pinned as always :)
2014 is the year of more savory for me :) Thanks for pinning!
I have a kabocha squash sitting on my counter right now and I know exactly what I’m going to make with it tonight after seeing this post! Loving all the savory recipes you have been posting lately :)
I love that you are into kab! It’s not a common squash as compared to buttercup, b-nut, acorn, etc and I hope you enjoy the salad. LMK! 2014 is the year of more savory for me. Cannot do 2 cakes, 1 brownie, and batch of cookies every week. No one eats that much sugar and I am giving people real ideas for meals. Glad you like the posts!
Such a beautiful salad! A color explosion!
this salad looks so wonderful and festive! I love the combination of sweet ans savory flavors Averie!
I love roasted squash, this is such a gorgeous and colorful salad!
Add to the list of things I’ve never eaten: any winter squash besides butternut. And that’s usually in soup or ravioli. I know, I’m sheltered. I need to try it in salad – maybe it would get me to like salad more. :)
Omg kabocha squash blows the pants of butternut. It’s sweeter, more like a sweet potato. Which oh yes, I know you don’t eat those either. But it’s got less ‘squashy’ taste to me and it’s firmer. I really don’t like mushy squash unless I’m pureeing it into a soup, and then it doesnt matter. But just to eat, I like it firmer and this is great. I mean butternut, buttercup or acorn will all work though!
Oh man that salad sounds wonderful! Salad has been sounding so good lately and this definitely isn’t an exception. Great job A :)
Thanks Eric! :)
I’ll have a big bowl of this, with a side of the butternut squash soup I posted today, please! (But you can keep the almonds.)
I LOVE these flavors. LOVE. And my go-to dressing is balsamic, mustard, and maple syrup. It goes well with this type of salad too.
We both posted squash today. But of course :)
The colors in this are amazing!! I could eat squash every single day, so this is going on my must make list!
So I’m a big nut for squash. This salad is gorgeous looking. I love colorful salads.
I love you even more now that I know you love squash :)
Oh my gosh! The colors in the salad are incredible! I just started adding squash to my salads and it is soo good!
It gives it a nice heartiness to give you that warm and full in your belly feeling!
I roast a squash pretty mush every single day. I adore them. Butternut is my favorite, but I really love them all. Plus, I eat almonds and balsamic like it is my job, so I am in love with this salad!! So pretty!
Ok have you tried kabocha? I think it blows the pants of butternut. It’s sweeter, more like a sweet potato. It’s got less ‘squashy’ taste to me and it’s firmer. I really don’t like mushy squash unless I’m pureeing it into a soup, and then it doesnt matter. But just to eat, I like it firmer and this is great. I mean butternut is fine but knowing you, you will flip for kab. Make it a point to go find some. It’s hard to find and they are often!!!! mislabeled by produce ppl in the groc store as kab when they’re really acorn or buttercup, so really check, but it’s worth it girl!!!
The colors and flavors in this salad are breathtaking! Pinned!
thanks for pinning!
I love absolutely everything about this! Kabocha is one of my favorite of the squashes. And love the addition of the cranberries for a real kick and texture variety.
I was just thinking about you yesterday when I was on a long run and then when I editing these pics! Thanks for saying hi! xoxox And not surprised you like kabocha – they’re such an amazing squash!
I am pretty sure I could eat this every day and never get sick of it either Averie! I am feasting with my eyes! What an explosion of colors. Beautiful!
Thanks, Katie! :)
Looks delicious! I bet the squash with the cranberry is an amazing combo. :)
I eat Kabocha squash like it is my job! I am totally obsessed and in <3 with it!
Salads are my favorite meals so I am dying to combine my squash <3 with this ah-may-zing looking salad! I could pour that lemon dijon balsamic vinaigrette all over my face and be a happy lady!
That’s awesome that you’re into kab! Girl I could eat a ton of it (and do) and don’t get sick of it! And the dressing was so good with it!
This is my kind of salad! Roasted squash is the BEST. Gorgeous.
I love me some roasted squash too :)
This is such a gorgeous winter salad (and I think you know I’m a kabocha lover too). I have a little stash of 5 left and I’m not seeing them anymore (buttercup is still plentiful though). Costco has a great kale/shaved Brussels/cabbage/broccoli slaw mix that I’m hooked on and I like adding kabocha to it. Last week’s add-ins were sunflower seeds, raisins, and your peanut sauce. I have also found myself dipping kabocha in that! Cranberries, almonds, and balsamic is perfect together. I can get pretty excited about salads–they’re a regular part of my diet and I love seeing ideas to change them up some. Love these savory recipes!!
Well the savory recipes are going to continue b/c I cannot bake 2 cakes, 1 pan of brownies and a batch of cookies every week. I need a little break :) And want to showcase some of the meals I actually eat so you’re in luck! And yes kab squash is SO hard to come by. I bought a ton ton ton of it before Xmas and still have some, and of course, then I see mini adorable baby kab’s for sale at the reg groc store of all places. You just never know what they’re going to have. That Costco blend sounds great, doctored up even better!
This looks delicious!- what beautiful colours and great photography!
Wow! That has to be the most beautiful salad I’ve ever seen. Love all of the wholesome ingredients and variety of textures and colors.
Aww, Liz, thank you! That’s such a high compliment from you considering you’ve seen one or ten thousand salads over the years in the ‘sphere :) xoxo
I love the sweetness of winter squash in salads…this looks so good!! :)
Thanks, Tara! :)
This is my kind of salad. I have been loving your savory post lately; they are so vibrant and pretty. I could use a good roast salad recipe these days; nothing like roasting to get unwilling guest to eating their veggies
Glad you love the savory posts. I cannot bake 2 cakes, 2 pans of bars, and a batch of cookies every week in 2014. The pace of the baking was just insane. Plus with Jan. resolutions, it’s the perfect time for meals like this!
This is my idea of a perfect salad. And I totally agree with you on the balsamic vinaigrette thing. It makes everything taste a little better.
I’ve never tried kabocha. It looks so good!
SO SO GOOD!!! Do what you can to find it. Without a doubt, my fave squash!
I could eat this everyday too, this just my kind of salad!
Thank you Sylvie!
You know I could totally drink balsamic too so this salad is just screaming my name. Love the vibrant colors too!
It’s been so fun for me to shoot plants again. I love it! And we could have a balsamic chugging contest :) Thanks for the bhg pin!
Just look at the colours! A beautiful and delicious looking salad :)