Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo Salad

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Quick Summary

Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo Salad with spinach, dried cranberries, red onion, pepitas, and goat cheese. The perfect hearty salad for fall!

roasted butternut squash orzo salad

I love roasted butternut squash, it is one of my favorite fall vegetables. I could eat it plain all day long, but I also love it in this Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo Salad.

My easy orzo salad is one of the most popular salad recipes on our blog and I think you will love the fall version too! All of the flavors come together in one bowl to create the most amazing fall salad!

The salad is loaded with lots of fall goodies; roasted butternut squash, orzo pasta, spinach, dried cranberries, pepitas, creamy goat cheese, and red onion.

I love making this salad for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or to go along side any fall meal. It is healthy, hearty, and so satisfying!

roasted butternut squash

Butternut Squash Orzo Salad Ingredients

The ingredients are simple and SO good!

  • Butternut squash– pick out a medium sized butternut squash. Peel the squash and remove the seeds with a spoon. Use a sharp knife to cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. If you want to save time, you can buy precut butternut squash, most grocery stores sell it all ready to go!
  • Olive oil– to drizzle over the squash
  • Spinach-I love using spinach, but arugula or kale work well too!
  • Goat cheese– if you don’t like goat cheese, you can use feta cheese
  • Pepitas– I love the slight crunch they add! Pecans, candied pecans, almonds, or walnuts would also be good!
  • Dried cranberries– for a little bit of sweetness!
  • Red onion– for a pop of color and flavor!
roasted butternut squash orzo salad with dressing

Salad Dressing Ingredients

The dressing is super simple to whisk up and much better than any store bought dressing!

  • Olive oil– the base of the dressing!
  • Red wine vinegar– sweet and tangy!
  • Maple Syrup or Honey– use whatever you have on hand, both are great!  
  • Dijon mustard-works as an emulsifier in the dressing.  
  • Garlic-always!
  • Cinnamon– a little ground cinnamon is the secret ingredient to this dressing! Don’t skip it! It complements the butternut squash so nicely!
roasted butternut squash orzo salad recipe

How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo Salad

There are a few steps to this salad, but don’t worry, it’s easy to make and the end results are SO worth it!

  • Place the squash on a large baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the squash in one layer and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the squash is tender, turning once with a spatula.
  • While the squash is roasting, cook the orzo according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
  • Pour the cooked orzo into a large bowl. Add the roasted butternut squash, spinach, goat cheese, pepitas, and dried cranberries.
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup (or honey), mustard, garlic, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

How to Store

After the salad has been tossed, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

If you want to prep in advance, you can roast the butternut squash, cook the orzo, and make the salad dressing. Keep them all in separate containers in the fridge. When you are ready to assemble the salad, put all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss!

how to make roasted butternut squash orzo salad

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Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash Orzo Salad with spinach, dried cranberries, red onion, pepitas, and goat cheese. The perfect hearty salad for fall!
4.75 from 24 votes

Ingredients
  

For the salad:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 5 oz spinach
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese, or feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion

For the dressing:

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place the squash on a large baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the squash in one layer and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the squash is tender, turning once with a spatula.
  • While the squash is roasting, cook the orzo according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
  • Pour the cooked orzo into a large bowl. Add the roasted butternut squash, spinach, goat cheese, pepitas, and dried cranberries.
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup (or honey), mustard, garlic, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 80mg, Potassium: 529mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 11775IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 95mg, Iron: 2mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Wow…that is one gorgeous salad! I love the vibrant colors of the squash and the cranberries. I bet it tastes as good as it looks, too. I am definately making this salad!

  2. I love butternut squash because it has so much flavor that it doesn’t need much else to make it shine! Love this salad. So many great colors, veggies, and flavors in it.

  3. What a pretty, healthy salad! The addition of cranberries is a great idea – nice amount of tartness to offset the sweetness of the butternut squash.

  4. I can’t get enough of butternut squash come fall, and I have a lot of leftover dried cranberries begging to be used in this dish. Thanks for the continual inspiration!

  5. Ooh, this looks delicious! My first squash of the season is going into soup this week, but this recipe is marked for next week – thanks for sharing the idea!

  6. I have yet to attempt cooking butternut squash. I know, lame. But these pics are so beautiful, and I do love orzo…might give it a try!

  7. I could totally eat plain BN squash all day long too! SO good- just roast it up and scoop it out. The dish looks really yummy. Orzo is my favorite pasta. I wish we had more fresh apples in this area

  8. Love this recipe! I roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts the other day and got stumped thinking of what to mix them with… I didn’t think rice or couscous would work, but orzo is brilliant! The dried cranberries and squash make this so colorful too.

  9. What a beautiful looking dish! I usually associate squash with warming, comforting winter foods that lack colour and excitement. But this looks so pretty and colorful. Cheers!

  10. Gorgeous salad!!! Squash makes such a nice accompaniment with grain dishes. Love the cranberries in this.

  11. All the squash out there these days excites me – butternut squash is great in sweets and savories. I love the cranberries in this orzo too!

  12. These are all the flavors I love and so visually appealing. I often forget about orzo, which is such a great pasta choice.

  13. Maria, I love this salad, it’s perfect for fall! And we definitely are on the same wavelength – I am making butternut squash soup tomorrow!

  14. I try to find as many recipes for orzo as I can because I know my daughter will eat it. Great idea with the butternut squash!

  15. Your salad sounds so yummy Maria!! I love how colorful it is. I am a huge fan of butternut squash too – I think I’ve eaten it almost every day in the past week 🙂 I can’t get over how big those squash in the picture are – wow!!

  16. I prefer butternut anything to pumpkin, and I do like pumpkin. And you can never go wrong with orzo.
    You seemed to enjoy the table setting posts I did the last 2 years. Although I didn’t do a table this time I have began this years posts today and for a few days. Peek if you are interested again. There were some nice ideas.

  17. Hey! Just stopping by to let you know we’re giving away a signed Sandra Lee cookbook with 1,001 recipes over at Chew on That! We’d love for you to enter! The giveaway ends on Halloween, so hurry over! 🙂

  18. Such a colorful salad and so good for you, too. I can never get enough of sweet, creamy butternut squash at this time of year.

  19. That looks absolutely delicious! I just made roasted butternut squash last night and ate it plain. Next time I will be trying this recipe for dinner.

  20. Just made this recipe last night. really simple and delicious however would definetly add fresh lemon juice to the recipe. and lots of it. it did lack a bit of taste…

  21. What a colorful dish! I never tried using butternut squash for orzo salad. I’m sure going to try it out!

  22. I like to share understanding that I have built up through the season
    to help enhance group functionality.

  23. 5 stars
    Best salad I’ve ever made. I used brown rice instead of orzo, roasted the onion with the squash and used pecans because that’s what I had in the pantry. I will definitely make this again. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration.

  24. 5 stars
    So I didn’t actually make this salad as written – I used it more as an inspiration.
    I couldn’t find orzo, I subbed it with tiny round pasta balls – I guess it was sort of like giant cous cous 😀 subbed spinach with field lettuce and added radicchio for crunch and bitterness. I forgot to add nuts as I was making brunch for way too many people and time just got away from me. But I have to say that even with all the changes… Any combination with roasted butternut squash and that divine vinaigrette is going to be a hit. Also I roasted the onions with the squash as my friend does NOT like raw onions and I wish I had roasted more just to have on the side 😀 This one is going to be a in rotation here as it seems like you can make endless variations and it will still taste absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for the inspiration, it was just what I needed to complete my brunch menu.

  25. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner. Such a yummy combination of flavors and so pretty. Not just a Fall salad. We still had butternut squash in storage from our garden and it made the perfect side to some Pan Sautéed Tilapia. Delicious for a Spring Salad too!

  26. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I couldn’t find my pepitas so I use walnuts and it was perfect. It’s going on my keeper list!

  27. Quick question!
    Can you estimate how many cups of butternut squash one would get from one squash?
    Thanks!
    Loretta

  28. 5 stars
    I’ve just made this twice in a row, we love it so much. It has the perfect blend of flavors and textures– and it’s healthy to boot! I like it a tad better without the cinnamon, personally, but it’s great either way.