Roasted Squash, Pecan, & Pomegranate Salad

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Serving platter filled with Sweet Spicy Roasted Squash Salad topped with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

Thanksgiving Week Extravaganza recipe #2? Squash!

Do you remember what I did last year? I made a Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Casserole (yes, a hot dish) for Thanksgiving. And? It was amazing! My aunts even made it at my grandma’s house for the big day! The Midwesterner in me was so proud.

I wanted to incorporate squash and sweet potatoes again this year, because, carbs. But I wanted to simplify and class things up a bit. Hence, a salad (made of mostly carbs)! Shall we?

Baking sheet with cubed butternut squash for making a gluten-free vegan thanksgiving salad recipe

The base of this 9-ingredient dish is roasted butternut squash and (or) sweet potatoes.

Roast with coconut oil, spices, and a little maple syrup and coconut sugar until golden and tender. It’s so delicious you’ll eat half before it’s ever assembled (according to a friend of mine – not me, of course).

Baking sheet with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

While the squash is roasting, toast up some pecans and then – right on the pan – toss them with coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup and spices and roast 5 minutes more until golden brown and crispy and SO DELICIOUS.

Again, my friend said she ate like half of them before serving. I can’t believe her. Such a lack of self-control.

Baking sheet with freshly roasted Sweet Spicy Butternut Squash for a thanksgiving salad recipe

For the dressing, I was hemming and hawing between savory, sweet, or tangy, until I remembered pomegranate molasses existed!

Have you ever tried it? It’s tangy and slightly sweet and so flavorful. I use it in my Fesenjan recipe (find the vegan version in our Cookbook!) and it makes the dish.

You can either buy pomegranate molasses or make it at home by cooking down pomegranate juice into a semi-glaze consistency (like you would balsamic vinegar). It only takes about 20 minutes and you’re left with a 1-ingredient dressing that complements this “salad” beautifully.

For serving, I opted for a bed of arugula and red onion. But to be honest, it was just for color. You can definitely just serve the squash with pecans and pomegranate molasses and this would be a show stopper.

But it never hurts to sneak in more greens when you can (so they say).

Drizzling pomegranate molasses over our Sweet Spicy Roasted Squash Salad with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

I hope you all love this dish! It’s:

Festive
Hearty
Savory-sweet
Vegetable-packed
Nutrient-rich
& So delicious

I’m envisioning this being the “I can’t keep my hands off it” side dish this Thanksgiving (and all fall + winter long for that matter). If you’re more of a traditionalist, give my Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Casserole a try!

If you try this dish, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Dinner plate filled with Sweet Spicy Roasted Squash Salad with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans for thanksgiving

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Squash & Pecan Salad

A sweet and savory squash + sweet potato salad with coconut sugar pecans and pomegranate molasses dressing! A simple but impressive 9-ingredient side dish that's perfect for the holiday season.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Tray of our Sweet and Spicy Roasted Squash Salad topped with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? Best when fresh

Ingredients

VEGETABLES

  • 5 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash and/or sweet potato (I used both)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (more to taste)
  • 1 healthy pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (more depending or sweetness of squash/potato)

NUTS

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

POMEGRANATE DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses* (to make at home: 1 cup (240 ml) pomegranate juice, cooked down for 20-25 minutes into a semi-glaze consistency*)

THE REST optional

  • 2 cups organic arugula or mixed greens
  • 1/2 medium lemon, juiced (yields ~2 Tbsp or 30 ml as original recipe is written)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt + black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). If using both sweet potato and butternut squash, spread on different bare baking sheets (as they require different baking times // use more baking sheets, as needed, if increasing batch size).
  • To the squash and sweet potato add the coconut oil, sugar, cayenne, salt, cinnamon, and maple syrup and toss to combine.
  • Bake the squash for 15-20 minutes, and the sweet potato for 25-30 minutes or until both are fork tender, sweet, and golden brown. Toss occasionally to ensure even baking.
  • Add the pecans to a separate baking sheet and bake on a separate rack in the oven for 8 minutes. Then remove and add coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, cayenne, salt, and cinnamon. Use a spoon to carefully toss until well coated. Then return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes more, or until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
  • While the vegetables + pecans are roasting, make the pomegranate molasses (if using store bought, skip this step), by adding pomegranate juice to a small saucepan and bringing to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the liquid has reduced into about 1/4 cup. Pour into a serving dish - it will continue to thicken once cooled.
  • To serve, either place the squash and pecans on a serving dish and drizzle with pomegranate molasses OR add the arugula to a serving bowl/platter and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Then add onion, squash and/or sweet potato, pecans, pomegranate arils, and pomegranate molasses. Enjoy immediately. Best when fresh.

Notes

*1 cup pomegranate juice yields ~1/4 cup pomegranate molasses.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with butternut squash, all of the pomegranate molasses and the pecans, and without any additional toppings (arugula, pomegranate arils, onion).

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 274 Carbohydrates: 32.9 g Protein: 3 g Fat: 16.6 g Saturated Fat: 5.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 34 mg Fiber: 4.1 g Sugar: 18.4 g

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  1. Nkhongi says

    Oh my, oh my. I made the dish and it wowed everyone. I made it with pumpkin as that is what I had at the time 👌🏾👌🏾. I used basil instead of the arugula. Tagged you on Instagram for the pic

  2. Jen says

    I made this for a Christmas party last night. It was a huge hit!
    I made it with both squash and sweet potatoes and all the “optional” items except onions.
    I will definitely make this again!

  3. MindfulH says

    I made this for a dinner party yesterday and it was amazing! I just used store bought candied pecans to cut down on time but would want to try making them next time.

  4. Harper says

    Hello! I’m trying to catalog recipes for the holidays since I’ve recently become vegetarian. I am allergic to cinnamon, and I wondered if you guys thought cloves, allspice, or nutmeg might work in its place. I know nutmeg is in some savory dishes (like creamed spinach). Thanks!

  5. Amy Dalgliesh says

    Even with all my good intentions, for some reason it’s taken me two years to make this. But now that I’m here……holy moly.

  6. Terry says

    Made this with butternut squash and sweet potato. Absolutely delish!! The pecans are amazing!!! Made with the arugula and lemon… and would definitely add more arugula next time. Loved the onion also and would add more next time. Filling and super delicious!! Thank you!

  7. andrea says

    This cam out really good,all the flavors really go together. Made this for a dinner party and it was a hit! I had a little trouble with making the pomegranate molasses, i took a while to cook down

  8. Rebecca says

    Delicious salad! Cold and wet where I live today and this salad was perfect for dinner. I had most of the ingredients already in my pantry :) another great recipe! Thank you!

    The only comment I do have is that my pomegranate reduction took about 2x longer than the recipe suggests .. just a heads up to some :)

  9. LisaD says

    I just made this and it tastes like something I would get from a super fancy restaurant. It is so good. Now I’ve just got to stay out of the extra toasted nuts so that I can have them for tomorrow’s salad!

  10. Abigail says

    This was phenomenal! We ate it on Thanksgiving day, and it was so bright and sweet and savory all at once. I’m actually making a second double-batch of the pecans to have on hand this week as snacks, too! Love!

    • Star Brown says

      Would okinawan sweet potatoes go well with the butternut? Or possibly breadfruit “ulu”? I live in Hawaii and keen to fuse a little hawaiian flavor to this lovely recipe. :)

  11. Judy D says

    Oh my goodness. This was so, so good – and beautiful! I made it with butternut squash; the only option I added wasthe pomegranate arils. It accompanied my husband’s “whatever’s on hand” vegan chili, and my vegetarian cornbread. A very filling Thanksgiving feast. I put it all on a gorgeous cobalt blue glass serving dish. Wish I’d thought to take a photo. Hint: serve it in bowls to catch all of the goodness that gets away if it’s just on the plate!

  12. Elizabeth says

    Can any steps of this recipe be made ahead of time to cut down on Thanksgiving day cook time? I’m planning on bringing this as a contribution to my family’s Thanksgiving meal but am hoping to get as much done as possible the day before. Thanks!

  13. Katrina says

    Hello! I made this last night for the whole family as a main and it worked a treat; beautiful flavours (and appearance), really filling, simple and worth the prep time. The pecans add a to die for touch, the pomegranate some refreshing fun! I love how creative this recipe is- as with all your others! I followed all the recommendations in your recipe which worked well, though I also added paprika to the sweet potato to bring out the sweetness. Mixed arugula with spinach. Your blog is amazing, I love the vibe, the ideas! You’ve been giving me great plant-based inspiration for years! Your recipes are a lot of fun. Thank you!

  14. Rose Silford-McLoughlin says

    This is such a great autumn recipe! I am definitely going to try it! Hope this is on your table for thanksgiving!

  15. Maya | Spice + Sprout says

    This is so beautiful! I love the photos in this recipe. What is the background that you used here? It really makes the orange squash pop! :)

  16. Julia @ HappyFoods Tube says

    I like roasted squash and this recipe with other yummy ingredients sounds amazing! I have to say I never tried coconut sugar. Saw it once in a shop but didn’t buy it. Gotta give it a go so!