Roasted Winter Squash Salad Recipe

A wintertime riff on potato salad. No potatoes though, just winter squash, a beer-based dressing, rosemary, walnuts, currants, and celery.

Roasted Winter Squash Salad

I keep buying kabocha squash. Orange ones. This is despite the fact that, orange or green, they're incredibly heavy. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I'm a complainer, allow me to add this - the walk home from the farmers' market is best thought of as a summit attempt. Straight up, five blocks. And not only are the kabocha dead weight, but they also threaten to crush the eggs, and smash the little gems in my sack. Bag bullies. But I can't get enough of them, and I've come to terms with the fact that they're actually worth the fuss - just the right amount of sweetness, quick-cooking, velvet-textured, sunset-orange flesh, AND they don't have the stringiness of pumpkins.

Roasted Winter Squash

My absolute favorite way to eat the orange kabocha is this: roast fat wedges to within an inch of their life at 425F / 220C. They should end up deeply browned, the flesh tender and nearly falling from the sliver of skin lending structure. While still hot, eat straight from the skin - each bite with a smear of butter and a few flakes of good salt.

When you've had enough of that, I encourage you to try this. In short, it's a wintertime riff on potato salad. No potatoes though, just winter squash (kabocha, pumpkin, acorn, etc) roasted until brown-crusted and tender fleshed. Chopped celery and red onion lend crunch, bite, and that familiar flavor profile. The rest of the salad (in this case) came together from whatever was within arms reach; rosemary from the window-sill, the second half of my beer = dressing base, toasted walnuts and currants hopped up from spice drawer.

This is a long way of saying, if you come across these guys at the market, bring one home with you. I suspect you'll agree it's worth the effort. -h

Book signing: Just a quick reminder that I'll be at the Remodelista Holiday Market in Marin this Saturday 12/3 from 10-4. I'll have books to sell, and I'm happy to sign books you already have. Hope to see some of you there.

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Roasted Winter Squash Salad

As I mentioned up above, I made this with orange kabocha squash, but I imagine it'd be nearly as good with acorn, delicata, or most other winter squash, really. I used walnuts, but I bet roasted pepitas or almonds would be great, and chopped dried figs in place of the currants. You can make and toss this ahead of time, but bring it to room temperature to serve.

1 pound / 450 g roasted winter squash*, cut into 1-inch / 2.5-cm chunks, skin removed

4 celery stalks (with leaves if possible), diced
1/ 2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 big handfuls toasted walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried currants / dried figs

2/3 cup / 160 ml beer (something along the lines of Anchor Steam)
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

If you haven't already roasted your squash, start there*.

In the meantime, make the dressing by whisking together the beer, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, honey, and salt. Taste, adjust with more sugar or salt if needed, and set aside.

Toss the squash in a large bowl with about a third of the dressing. Let it sit for a minute or two, add more dressing, and most of the celery, red onions, walnuts, and currants. Toss again. You'll likely have dressing left over, but this is a salad you should overdress in the beginning - the squash really drinks it up. Also, taste for seasoning at this point and add more salt if needed. Sprinkle with the remaining celery, red onions, walnuts, and currants, and enjoy. Let sit at least 5-10 minutes and serve.

Serves 6.

*Toss 1 1/2 inch thick slabs of (de-seeded) squash with a few gluts of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, and 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary in the top third of a 425F / 220C oven until completely tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and let sit until cool enough to handle. For this recipe, slice into 1-inch / 2.5 cm chunks, leaving the skin behind.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes

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

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can you do a vegan spaghetti squash recipe please!! i absolutely lovvvvvve all your recipes and come to your site to figure out what meal i'll make next


I did not know that the name of this squash was kabocha, I always thought this squash was just ornamental. I love to cook with squash, but I am not very inventive. Just usually steam it add s&p a a bit of olive oil. I am going to try this recipe this weekend. It looks great :)


Heidi - just read your comment about the lentils cooked in beer/broth, and I urge you to write it up sooner rather than later - for those of us who made this dish and still have half a beer in the fridge --it's wintry cold where I live, so less inviting to just drink it down, but very inviting to make a pot of warming beans with it!

marla again

Just made this. Wow, you are good. An inspiring way to take a squash salad and make it your own. (ps I used Yuengling black and tan, and golden raisins.)


I finally got around to trying this recipe - and had never had kabocha squash before, so that was a wonderful new experience! This was so yummy, I'm eating it for breakfast! I didn't have ale, so tried subbing vegetable broth (as if there is really a sub for ale!), and didn't have rosemary so used Penzey's Country French vinaigrette seasoning - which has rosemary in it - and it tastes SO GOOD! Thanks for sharing your recipe!


I made this tonight; unfortunately, this was not a hit in our house. My husband thought the onion needed to be cooked and I was not a fan of the beer taste. Maybe roasting the vegetables would help enhance the flavors to our liking? Not sure, but I love the idea behind this dish. As always, it was so visually appealing.


For those who were seeking a no-beer version, I made the dressing with apple cider – cut with water – and thought it very good. I also swapped fennel for celery and tart cherries for the currants, as that what was I had about. Fabulous. Though perhaps all around a bit sweeter than the original, I strongly recommend trying this fennel variation.


I made a roasted kabocha squash soup with nutmeg and cinnamon. Tasted great and I loved the color and the slightly waxy sheen on top! A great squash to cook with!


Sigh. Can I just live in your kitchen? I'll keep the dishes done...


I'm trying to do this right now.


i made this tonight for dinner. i don't like walnuts, so i used pecans, otherwise, i followed the recipe down to the anchor steam. my man and i loved it!! (served with grilled sirloin steak and sliced avocado) thanks for the great idea!


I have a dinner party this weekend and my menu just said "salad." Thought I'd be throwing some lettuce from a bag in a bowl...yikes. After reading this, I think some editing is in order! :) Thanks for the help!


I was quite worried about your eggs and small precious purchases being beaten down by this huge heavy squash so, why not place them in a back pack...leaves hand carried groceries free and evens the load.

angela bertasson

This looks like a lovely preparation. I've got a few squashes hanging about. Maybe I'll do this to one of them. Though it might be worth it to invest in a kabocha ;)


Yum - really enjoyed this, thanks! I used pecans instead of walnuts and really liked the flavour.


I adore Kabucha too and can't wait to pick some more up to try this delicious sounding recipe. I also love your blog and as a virgin food blogger you give me something to aspire to. Kudo's!

Jill Mant

mmm, looks really good! I'm loving the variety of squashes in the shops at the moment. At the moment my favourite is Honeynut squash - roasts better than any of the others I've managed to find. Going to have to try and hunt down a kabocha though!

Adam Levy

Amazing!! Looks so delicious, I love roasted squash.

Honey For Jam

I made this for dinner tonight and my flatmates absolutely loved it! I adore squash salads and this one had a different flavour than those I've made in the past. Definitely adding it to my repertoire! As a note to those looking for an alternative to beer in the dressing - I cannot have wheat (thus no beer for me!), so I decided to try adding apple juice instead and was really pleased. It melded well with the cidre vinegar and wasn't too overpowering.

Meghan SK

Hi. I have a gluten intolerance so I can't have beer. This recipe looks delicious though, so I was wondering what I could replace the beer with? Thanks for answering.


I thought I'd used every recipe there was for all the winter squash I'd produced on my allotment this year ( think I may have overdone it a bit!), so I was so pleased to read about squash in salad!!


This looks like a nutritious and delicious winter salad!

Dr. Sarah Cimperman

This is going in my list of "ways to cook winter squash". I frequent a cafe in Portland and they had a great squash, onion, and barley salad. Have you tried kobucha with barley? It's AMAZING!


It's like you knew about the 4 squash from my CSA crowding my windowsill, begging me to do SOMETHING with them. It's like you knew. Can't wait to try this recipe-- it sounds so much lighter and somehow crisper than the traditional roast-the-squash rut I've fallen into. Thanks!

The Cozy Herbivore

Love kabocha. Love all winter squash. And you know what, what it's roasted that well done, I eat the skin too. Easier. Nice texture. More fiber. Ha!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

i love that this recipe uses beer, what a great way to enjoy winter squash! as always, your pictures are just beautiful!

Caitlin @ Vegetarian in the City

from the picture, i assumed (incorrectly) that those tiny black pops were a fried lentil, indian-style, and my mind wandered immediately in that direction: lime, chili, ginger, cilantro, maybe a few garbanzos, .... reading on, i can taste exactly the (actual) potato salad profile, and think it a grand re-invention for winter. maybe i'll try both, ...


Just made some kabocha last week, realized roasted kabocha slices slathered in an odd assortment of seasonings is the BEST thing I make, took some pictures, shared the perfected method on my blog, and then saw you'd just written about kabocha. Somewhere in the 100+ comments someone may have suggested this, but I just had to share this. Make it, and you won't be sorry.


This looks so delicious! Usually I eat pumpinks and squash as a thick autumn/winter soup, with diced bacon. But this a great new way to enjoy these yummy vegetables! I have to give this great recipe to my mum. European Kitchens

European Kitchens

I made this last night, and it was AMAZING! Wonderful combination of flavors and textures, *and* I already had everything on hand in the fridge and pantry (though I subbed pecans for walnuts, and raisins for the dried figs/currants). Thank you for the great recipe, which is sure to become a staple in our house!


I'm English and a food writer living in the North of England and read your recipe each week - I love them! Your photos are so good I want to make all your recipes - and I'm a carnivore! Squash is one of my favourites - so I'll be having a go at this in the next day or so. It's starting to snow here in the hills and the colours will cheer me up!


This looks so good... I love squash, I sure this salad will be a hit in my home... Lovely pictures.

Reem | Simply Reem

Heidi, do you have any favorite cookbooks this year? Love your recent cookbook!


I love Kabocha and usually prepare it like baked potato almost. Roast it or bake it in the oven and sprinkle fresh garlic and a bit of butter and sometimes a little bit of cilantro sprinkled on top of it. It is fantastic. I wonder if it can be made into a pie like pumpkin id love to try it!


I have kept this salad in my mind and made it tonight. I love how I can taste each flavor so distinctly and how the whole of the flavors works so well; Bravo! another great recipe to add to my collection.


Sounds delicious. Why am I not varying this with a warm dressing, a little (or a lot) bacon, and some salt-cured capers, well rinsed?


For those of you who are curious about what else is on the plate in the bottom picture - it's a simple (not very photogenic) lentil dish - I boiled them in beer/broth, added butter, bit of mustard, and a few other things at the end. I'll write it up at some point. xo-h


Yum! For this and the delicata salad, you can also roast the seeds to sprinkle on top. I've been soaking them overnight in salt water, then drain, rub with a bit of rice bran oil, roast at 325 for about 20 minutes. Adds a nice crunch.


no matter what the ingredients are, just as i read your recipes, my 79 yrs. old fingers start to dance and pull me toward the kitchen, and then the real fun starts... thank you from far-away israel for putting so much joie de vivre in cooking!


Amen to kabocha-love. Perfect in curries, they go tender but don't mush out, and they have such sweetness.


Yum! I love winter squash and this looks like a great and unique way to work it into a simple weekday dinner. Thanks!


Yum! Looks like a wonderful meal idea for a cold December night!


I made this last night with some substitutions based on what I had on hand. Didn't have currants/figs, walnuts, red onion or celery, BUT fear not! I used a Carnival squash, Downtown Brown beer, spring onions, almonds, and roasted squash seeds (everything else was as per recipe). I also added about a cup of pre-cooked chick peas to make more of a hearty meal of it. It was de-lish! The next day, I boiled some mung beans and threw that in with the leftovers. I imagine roasted root veggies would work really well too. The beer gives this dish great tangy taste.


Made this with chopped dried figs and loved it. This is my favorite squash, too; whenever we make tempura veggies for a crowd, the kabocha is far and away the first thing to disappear. Lovely recipe - thanks :)


Another Kabocha squash fan here! I followed your suggestion as well and made a citrus combo dressing (heavier on the orange than lemon though and didn't dilute it). I also mixed in some cooked brown rice to make it a more substantial one bowl grain/vegetable salad meal. Could also see this being great with chick peas. The acidic kick from the dressing makes this winterized salad nicely refreshing. Thanks for the inspiration as always. :)


Oh, and I wonder if kombucha would be a good substitute for the dressing?


Thanks for deciding what I will have for dinner. :) I, too, would like to know what you paired it with on your plate? A mix of lentils?? With roasted garlic cloves??


Heidi I tried your suggestion in the comments about using a watered down lemon/orange juice and it was great. I squeezed the juice from one orange and one lemon, then added water to make up the 2/3 cups. Thanks for that idea. The whole dish is wonderful!


I could not be more delighted that it's squash season and I have eaten more than my fair share this year....

Run Fast Travel Slow

Every year I grow something new in my garden as an experiment. This year it was Kabocha squash! Our short Wisconsin summer produced countless single-serving size Kabocha that I've been roasting and eating non-stop. This salad sounds fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration :)

squash from the garden

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