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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OH and those gorgeous celery leaves, off the monster winter celery from Rainbow? I wish they grew like that all year round.

caroline c

totally random, but i saw these and thought you had a good chance of falling in love. Made your soba-ginger noodles the other night after a day of juicing when we were still hungry around 9:30. Ate them in bed watching bad netflix, the two of us with these deep earthy bowls. Hit the spot, thanks.

caroline c

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

Nancie McDermott

Squash is such an amazing veggie: full of nutrients and fiber that are so crucial to any healthy diet. Personally I love to use roasted squash to make a smoothie with vanilla protein and carrot: yummy! Peace Mike

Mike @TheIronYou

Another kabocha addict here! I even like it for dessert, with a little spice--my choice is freshly crushed cardamon--and a little stevia or even maple syrup. Thanks for the luscious salad recipe!


Wow, I would have loved to have seen you come up with this one Heidi :-) Slug of beer, hrmmmm maybe I will use the last half of that beer in my dressing? I've never heard of beer dressing, but it sure sounds interesting!

Emma Galloway

Yumm! I have a pumpkin on my kitchen table just waiting to be turned into this! What do you think about using dried cherries instead of the currants or figs?
HS: I think dried cherries would work nicely Sarah!


I share your trudging-home-from-the-market-with-heavy-squash-and-broken-eggs dread, but also your love of a good roasted acorn or kabocha. There's little else I crave in winter but that tender, caramelized, perfectly spiced orange flesh.

Meister @ The Nervous Cook

sounds like quite the walk- they must be delicious to do that!

Simply Life

I find kabocha squash the nicest, with the richest flavour. I'd probably go easy with the beer dressing, I wouldn't want that squash flavour overpowered

Expat Gourmet

You've totally convinced me to buy a kabocha with me home after work. And some beer...


This squash sounds absolutely fantastic! Love this recipe :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

This recipe looks great. Love kabocha-it's so sweet and tender! I love your spins on salads. Inspiring as always. Cute story about your trip to the market.


I love the light in your pictures, as ever. I love the dressing on this salad and the combination of textures. Just perfect.


Wish could be there for the book signing! but alas i live thousands of miles away in nairobi! will be there in spirit! lovely recipe!


In the spirit of the holiday season, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!!! I was just thinking last night that lightly cooked celery is one of my favorite vegetebles, and that it really never get's it's due. My mom used to sauted diagonal celery slices along with toasted almonds as a side dish, and whenever I mention this, people look at me like I was raised on Mars! Anyway, celery, Kabocha squash, red onion and figs are a genious in their simplicity as a combination! I will be making this very soon, like when I am able to get back to my home kitchen from business travel. Yummmm, and thanks.

Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers

Just when I was hungering (literally) for a new winter recipe for you, you dished one right up. You're amazing you know that right?


The way you talk about your bullying squash vs. your eggs is exactly how I talked about my mean melons vs. my peaches on my own journey home from the farmers market this past summer. My melon met it's fate as a gingery lime sorbet; your squash met a summer-esque ending as a salad. All this talk about farmer's markets makes me miss my melons


Roasted squash is the BEST! I've used butternut squash, acorn squash, and kabocha squash before. I'll definitely have to try this with all three, and maybe some pumpkin too!

Anjali Shah @ The Picky Eater

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