Roasted Pumpkin Salad Recipe

A roasted pumpkin salad made with wild rice, tiny, caramelized red onions drizzled with a simple, honey-kissed, creamy sunflower seed dressing. A colorful harvest salad perfect for Fall festivities.

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

A few of you were curious about what I made with the lovely sunset-shaded pumpkin I found nestled at the bottom of my last produce pick-up. After enjoying it on my desk for a few days, I lined my countertop with a deconstructed paper bag (to contain the mess), and gave my knife a good workout. Flash-forward to a refrigerator full of pumpkin wedges, cubes, and slices - needless to say, pumpkin has been on the menu ever since. This particular pumpkin salad came together by combining a simple, honey-kissed, creamy sunflower seed cilantro dressing with a platter of roasted pumpkin, wild rice and tiny, caramelized red onions. You might use any leftovers in omelettes, tossed with salad greens, or as a component in an impromptu stir-fry later on in the week.

Pumpkin Salad Recipe

I should mention that the texture and flavor of pumpkins and winter squash can vary dramatically. That's not all, the flesh of some pumpkins are much more moist than others, and all of this can have an impact on your roasting time. Nothing to worry about, just something to keep an eye on. Broadly speaking, I approach each squash I bring home individually, and simply roast it until it's done.

The pumpkin I used for this recipe had flesh you could cut like butter. It was easy to work with on the prep side of things, but after 45 minutes in a hot oven I had to handle it carefully to make sure it didn't go to mush on me. I might choose a more structured squash the next time around - for example, butternut or acorn squash would be great, and both are relatively easy to come by.

Pumpkin Salad Recipe

Also, for those of you looking for shortcuts, I've noticed that many stores are now carrying pre-cooked whole-grain rices (brown, wild rice, and more) in both the freezer section and on the shelves as well - Whole Foods Markets and Trader Joes.

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Roasted Pumpkin Salad Recipe

I know many people have an aversion to cilantro - feel free to leave it out. This will change the personality and flavor profile of the dressing, but it will still taste delicious.

3 cups of pumpkin (or other winter squash), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
extra-virgin olive oi
fine grain sea salt

12 tiny red onions or shallots, peeled (OR 3 medium red onions peeled and quartered)
2 cups cooked wild rice*

1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375.
Toss the pumpkin in a generous splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt, and turn out onto a baking sheet. At the same time, toss the onions with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and turn out onto a separate baking sheet. Roast both for about 45 minutes, or until squash is brown and caramelized. The same goes for the onions, they should be deeply colored, caramelized, and soft throughout by the time they are done roasting. You'll need to flip both the squash and onion pieces once or twice along the way - so it's not just one side that is browning.

In the meantime, make the dressing. With a hand blender or food processor puree the sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and honey until creamy. You may need to add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the dressing a bit. Stir in the cilantro, saving just a bit to garnish the final plate later. Taste and adjust seasonings (or flavors) to your liking - I usually need to add a touch more salt with this dressing.

In a large bowl, toss the wild rice with a large dollop of the dressing. Add the onions, gently toss just once or twice. Turn the rice and onions out onto a platter and top with the roasted squash (I'll very gently toss with my hands here to disperse the pumpkin a bit). Finish with another drizzle of dressing and any remaining chopped cilantro.

Serves 4.

* To cook wild rice: Rinse 1 1/2 cups wild rice. In a medium sauce pan bring the rice and 4 1/2 cups salted water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes or until rice is tender and splitting open, stirring occasionally. You'll have enough for this recipe and some leftover.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Looks delicious, but you're quite right - I don't like cilantro, but I'll figure out something else. Always inspirering to come and visit your site.


What do I do after sitting in the cilantro? Ha ha, typos are fun.


fabulous autumnal offering, heidi--thank you! but i must say that the pharmaceutical banner advertising on your site is a big disappointment. sorry, but it doesn't seem to sync with your wonderful values.


this looks so delicious! pumpkin is such a wonderful ingredient and i love the roasted shallots and wild rice. i will be making this one very soon - thanks for all the wonderful recipes, just discovered your blog and it's fabulous.


This looks amazing - and I love your creamy dressing that's dairy free. Right now our farmer's market is just bursting with winter squash, so this is going on next week's menu without question.

Haley W.

Thank you for the wonderful inspiration, I have some butternut squash in the garden waiting to be harvested and I thought I would make this for a baby shower that is coming up this Saturday.


If you've still got some pumpkin left, try making a vegetarian version of our pumpkin mee.


While I like most of what you make Heidi, I just can't do it. I have an onion phobia, as does my husband. I sheltered my daughter from onions her whole life, until she went to a sleep over as a teenager and they had veggie pizza with onions on it. Not to be rude she took a piece and ate it. It changed her life forever! She came home and said "you've been sheltering me my whole life from delicious onions?!" She soon found out that it was her Dad and I against the world, and that most people DO like onions. So now when we go grocery shopping, she always places onions in the basket!


so......... delicious


this looks amazing, thanks heidi! please keep the pumpkin and winter squash recipes coming--they are so abundant, delicious, nutritious...and not to mention affordable.


Could your purple onions be any prettier? This salad looks amazing!

Ali and Evan

I'd love to try this with kabocha. You've really opened up my "salad" horizons with your many creative combinations both on here and in your cookbooks. I love that you break the rules of what a "salad" is considered to be by most and make it into something totally cravable and nourishing. Thank you.


PS: I used Butternut Squash...YUM!


JUST MADE IT AND ATE IT! Hooooooly Mooooooly! That is perfection....just....perfection. I am in love with this salad. Can i marry it? MWAH! Dara


Heidi, you are AMAZING. My boyfriend is literally going to go crazy when he sees this dish. He loves pumpkin and fall is his favorite season! Thank you! Thank you!


Hi Heidi - this salad looks AMAZING!! This would be a great side dish for Thanksgiving. I'm loving all the great flavors of fall!

Jen (Running with Food)

I love butternut, acorn, and pumpkin squashes at this time of year--I'm even going to try to store some in the basement and see how long they last me. I like the idea of sunflower seeds *in* the dressing--never seen that. It lends protein to a veg-centric meal, always important for vegetarians. And yes, cutting up the pumpkin--definitely a lot of work. I reduce the work by roasting in halves first or peeling first and then roasting (my peeler hardly breaks a sweat doing this). Cutting into chunks while raw is useful for many dishes, but messy and frankly, the roasted sans cutting first is just as good! However. To Fit Bottomed Girls: using non-canned is completely worth the effort and very different, in my opinion.

Erin @ Sprouted

How could anyone dislike cilantro? I've never understood this, but I guess to each his own. That being said, this recipe looks fantastic (as all of your recipes do), and I can't wait to try this dressing.... it sounds delicious and super simple to make.

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

Oh my goodness- that does look delicious!! Perfect fall/autumn fare. The dressing particularly looks inventive and delicious. Yum!


I'm ashamed to say this, but I've had a bone to pick with pumpkin ever since last year I decided to roast and puree pumpkin for use in various delicious baked good and recipes to come.....I didn't know that I had to drain it. I know, I know. NOW. Fast forward to two failed pumpkin breads, a horribly soggy pumpkin cheesecake and possibly the worse pumpkin pie ever. It's safe to say that I learned that lesson well. I don't know why I blame the pumpkin for this. It certainly isn't the PUMPKIN'S fault, but I do....I have pride....wounded, unjustifiable pride....

Choosy Beggar Tina

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