Butternut Squash & Pear Salad with Tahini Dressing

Roasted butternut squash is tossed with pears, walnuts, dried cranberries and drizzled with a creamy dressing made with tahini, maple syrup and olive oil. The pomegranates on top add to the festive touch! 
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This Butternut Squash Pear Salad makes a flavorful salad for the holidays. Roasted butternut squash is tossed with pears, walnuts, dried cranberries and drizzled with a creamy dressing made with tahini, maple syrup and olive oil. The pomegranates on top add to the festive touch! This salad is easy to put together and can be made vegan by skipping the goat cheese.

butternut squash salad with pears, goat cheese, pomegranate arranged on a plate

A large plate of salad is definitely one thing which you cannot miss on the holiday table. For me a good salad for the holidays is one which not only tasted good but is also pretty to look at after all we eat with our eyes first, like this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad. This Butternut Squash Pear Salad has all my favorite things in season and is tossed with a creamy tahini dressing.

This salad has a lot going for it- the roasted butternut squash which is flavored with paprika and maple syrup, the juicy pears, crunchy roasted walnuts, tart cranberries, the tahini dressing and the creamy goat cheese. This combination of flavors makes it a very special salad, one which is perfect to grace your holiday table.

Truth be told though, you don’t need a holiday or a reason to make this salad. It is great on any cold fall day. I love serving warm squash immediately so that the goat cheese melts a little creating this creamy sweet goodness. So good!

Ingredients

ingredients for making butternut squash pear salad arranged on a board

Butternut Squash: I usually buy pre-cut squash from grocery stores to make things easy. But you can definitely buy a whole squash, then peel and cut it into 1 to 1&1/2 inch cubes.

Seasonings: the squash is roasted with spices like paprika and there’s maple syrup, salt and pepper. These add a lot of flavor to the squash.

Dressing: This salad has a simple yet flavorful dressing made with tahini, olive oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. If you don’t have maple syrup, you can replace it with honey. Apple cider vinegar can be replaced with red wine vinegar or white vinegar.

Pear & Walnuts: for flavor and crunch, I like using pears and walnuts in this salad. But you can also use apples here and walnuts can be replaced with pecans or almonds.

Dried Cranberries: these add that holiday touch to the salad and add a layer of flavor. You can skip these if you are not a fan or don’t have them or replace them with dried currants or black raisins or dried cherries.

Greens: for this salad, I used a mix of spring greens which had lettuce, spinach, arugula. You can use any greens of choice here, only arugula will be nice too.

Step by Step Instructions

1- Pre-heat oven to 425 F degrees. To a large bowl, add the following:

  • 3 cups butternut squash cubes (1 pound butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2- Mix using a spatula until everything is well combined and the butternut squash cubes are well coated with the seasoning.

3- Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 425 F degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Don’t overcook the squash though, they should still have a nice bite to them for this salad. Keep an eye after 15 minutes as oven time can vary depending on the size of the cubes.

4- Meanwhile prepare the other components of the salad. Slice a pear into slices, the slices should not be super thick or thin.

step by step picture collage of making butternut squash pear salad

5- Roast 1/2 to 3/4 cup of walnuts in a pan on medium heat until you see some brown spots and they are fragrant. This takes around 4 to 5 minutes, stir often else the nuts can burn. Once done, transfer to a plate. Let them cool down a bit then roughly chop them.

6- To make the dressing, take a measuring jar or bowl and add the following:

  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 

7- Whisk using a wire whisk until it is all well combined.

8- Squeeze in juice of a small half lemon and stir. The dressing is now done.

step by step picture collage of making butternut squash pear salad

9- To arrange the salad, take your serving plate or bowl. Arrange 4 to 5 oz spring greens at the bottom of the serving plate. This is a mix of spring greens that I used but you can use any greens of choice. Then place the roasted butternut squash on top of the greens.

10- Add the sliced pear, roasted walnuts and 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of dried cranberries.

11- Drizzle 4 to 5 tablespoons of the prepared dressing on top. I don’t like adding all the dressing so there will be some leftovers. Also this way, the greens don’t get soggy. You can add as much dressing as you like, I used around 4 to 5 tablespoons.

12- For the final finish, add 2 oz of goat cheese (use your hands to break it and then add all over) and sprinkle some pomegranate arils on top. The salad is now ready to be served!

step by step picture collage of making butternut squash pear salad

Vegan Variation

This salad on its own is vegan if you skip the goat cheese which I added at the very end. So, just skip the goat cheese or use a vegan cheese if you like one to make this salad vegan.

Nut-Free Variation

If you are making this for a group and someone has a nut allergy, you can use roasted pumpkin seeds in place. They will go well.

Make in Advance

Parts of this salad can be made in advance, like you can roast the squash beforehand and make the dressing in advance. The dressing will thicken as it sits so you might need to add some water or little more olive oil to thin it out.

For this salad, I prefer serving the squash warm. So, if you have roasted the squash beforehand you can simply heat it up in your oven until it’s warm and then add it to the salad.

butternut squash salad with pears and pomegranate served in a round plate

More Vegetarian Salads for Holidays

  • The Lentil Tabbouleh Salad is filling, flavorful and makes a great side.
  • My favorite Chickpea Salad is colorful and has olive, cucumber and dates in it which makes it perfect to serve at Thanksgiving.
  • If you love a flavorful spiced salad, then this Cauliflower Sweet Potato Salad with curry cashew Dressing will definitely please your taste buds.

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Butternut Squash & Pear Salad with Tahini Dressing

butternut squash salad with pears, goat cheese, pomegranate arranged on a plate
Manali
Roasted butternut squash is tossed with pears, walnuts, dried cranberries and drizzled with a creamy dressing made with tahini, maple syrup and olive oil. The pomegranates on top add to the festive touch! 
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 268 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes, around 3 cups of cut butternut squash cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil extra-virgin
  • 1 large pear cut into slices
  • 1/2-3/4 cup walnuts roasted
  • 4-5 oz spring greens or use arugula then roughly chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • pomegranate arils to garnish

Dressing

  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons olive oil extra-virgin
  • half small lemon juice of

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat oven to 425 F degrees. To a large bowl, add the cut butternut squash cubes, followed by paprika, salt, black pepper, maple syrup and olive oil. Mix with a spatula until the squash cubes are well coated with the seasoning.
  • Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 425 F degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Don't overcook the squash though, they should still have a nice bite to them for this salad. Keep an eye after 15 minutes as oven time can vary depending on the size of the cubes. While the squash is roasting, slice the pears and roast the walnuts (4-5 minutes in a pan on medium heat until fragrant and have browned spot, stir continuously).
  • Make the dressing by combining together all the ingredients listed under "dressing" in a measuring jar or bowl. Mix using a wire whisk until it is all well combined.
  • To arrange the salad, take your serving plate or bowl. Arrange 4 to 5 oz spring greens at the bottom of the serving plate. Then place the roasted butternut squash on top of the greens. I like to place them direct from the oven when they are warm.
    Add the sliced pear, roasted walnuts and dried cranberries.
  • Then drizzle 4 to 5 tablespoons of the prepared dressing on top. You can add much dressing as you like, I used around 4 to 5 tablespoons and was left with some of the dressing.
  • For the final finish, add 2 oz of goat cheese (use your hands to break it and then add all over) and sprinkle some pomegranate arils on top. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Skip goat cheese to make the salad vegan.
  2. You can replace squash with pumpkin to make a pumpkin salad in the same way.
  3. Replace walnuts with roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds to make the salad nut-free.

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 5gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 242mgPotassium: 441mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 8378IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 87mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

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