This flavorful pumpkin salad recipe features diced pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, baby greens, goat cheese, and a tangy dressing made from apple cider vinegar, mustard, and maple syrup. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table!
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In the next few weeks, you will see tons of updated and new Thanksgiving and holiday recipes on the blog! But before we get to the green bean casseroles, cranberry sauces, pies, and more, I wanted to start with a lighter dish for your holiday spread.
I made this Roasted Pumpkin Salad with both flavor and color in mind. It turns out that bright orange pumpkin looks gorgeous on top of leafy greens, and pairs exceptionally well with crunchy seeds, sweet dried cranberries, and tangy apple cider vinegar.
So if you’re looking for a cold weather salad that’s both pretty and tasty, you really can’t go wrong with this one! It’s also a “no waste” recipe, meaning you use both the pumpkin flesh and the seeds. A winning dish, I’ll say!
Which pumpkin is best for salad?
If you’ve ever visited a grocery store in the fall (which I’m sure all of you have), then you know there are TONS of pumpkin varieties.
To make this salad, I used a small pie pumpkin (also known as a sugar pumpkin), but you can use any type of small pumpkin. I personally think that pie pumpkins have the best seeds for roasting though!
How to Make Pumpkin Salad
Once you have your pumpkin for this recipe, you simply need to prepare the roasted pumpkin and seeds and then gather the other ingredients.
First, slice the top off the pumpkin and then cut it in half lengthwise. Use your spoon to remove the seeds and transfer them to a colander. Remove the outside skin from the pumpkin halves with a knife or swivel peeler.
Use a sharp knife to slice each half into strips and then into cubes (see photo 1 above). Transfer the pumpkin cubes to a lined baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO, and pop in the oven (see photo 2)!
Next, run cold water over the pumpkin seeds in the colander and use your hands to remove the orange, stringy flesh. Transfer to a paper towel and pat dry. Then spread evenly on a baking sheet, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and put the sheet in the oven (see photos 3 and 4).
Once the roasted pumpkin and seeds are ready, toss them with the other ingredients and pour the dressing over the salad. YUM.
Expert Tips for Pumpkin Salad
- If you are serving this salad at a later time, wait to dress it until right before you plan to eat. You can make this salad even a day in advance, and keep it in a bowl covered with plastic or reusable beeswax wrap until you are ready.
- Be careful not to burn the pumpkin seeds, and check on them every 5 minutes. They are finished roasting when they are slightly brown in color.
- I recommend that you use a mix of baby greens (kale, spinach, and chard) but you can use just baby kale or baby spinach. It would also taste good with arugula.
- To increase the fiber content of this recipe, keep the skin on the pumpkin.
To make this vegan, take out the goat cheese.
- No pumpkin? Sub butternut, acorn, or delicata squash. You can prepare the seeds in the same way as you would pumpkin seeds.
- Other substitution ideas: dried cherries instead of cranberries, feta cheese instead of goat cheese, and pecans instead of pumpkin seeds
- Serve roasted pumpkin salad with Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, or another lean protein. You can also add shredded chicken, salmon, hard boiled eggs, or beans for added protein.
Craving more easy salad recipes?
Here are some of my favorites:
- Chopped Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
- Sweet Corn and Cherry Arugula Salad
- Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad
- Blueberry Spinach Salad
- Cashew Cabbage Salad with Bok Choy
If you make this recipe, be sure to rate and review it using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and don’t forget to follow and tag @its_a_vegworld_afterall on Instagram! Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Apple Cider Dressing
- sharp knife
- baking sheets
- Mixing bowl
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Slice the top off the pumpkin and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and orange, stringy flesh with your hands or a spoon. Transfer to a colander. Peel each pumpkin half with a knife or swivel peeler, slice into strips and then into cubes. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and toss with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Put in the oven and let cook for 20-25 minutes, or until fork-tender.
- Prepare the pumpkin seeds by running them under cold water in the colander. Use your hands to remove the stringy flesh. Transfer to a paper towel and pat dry, then spread out on another baking sheet in an even layer. Toss with the last tbsp of olive oil. Put the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and let the seeds roast for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy.
- Remove the pumpkin and seeds from the oven when they are finished cooking. Add them to a large mixing bowl, along with the baby greens, dried cranberries, and goat cheese. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, syrup, and dijon. Pour over the salad and toss. Enjoy!
- Wait to dress the salad until right before you serve it if you are making it in advance.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
- You can keep the skin on the pumpkin to increase the fiber content if desired.
- To make vegan, take out the goat cheese.
- Sub butternut, acorn, or delicata squash if you don’t have pumpkin. You can also use feta instead of goat cheese.
- Top with add shredded chicken, salmon, hard boiled eggs, or beans for added protein.
Have a happy and healthy week!