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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Love the sound of this dressing. I have roasted pumpkin/squash many different ways (can't seem to get enough) but not for salads . . . yet!

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

Yum! I adore autumn-salads...


Thanks for the recipe. I roast this squash all the time and it is my favorite too! I roasted some for Thanksgiving with olive oil and sea salt and sprinkled toasted almonds and pomegranate seeds over the top. It was a hit!! And I agree about the bag bullies they are...worth it though. I always hand carry them.


Hi Heidi, I have often wondered if you would consider adding the calories per serving and some nutritional info along with your recipes?


Yep those squash are totally worth it, who cares about the eggs? haha


Heidi, Why don't you get yourself a shopping trolley to stop those bag bullies squashing everything? Very common in Europe. You can get ones that you push, or ones that you pull. Most of the ones in here are waterproof fabric covered.


Mmm this sounds delicious. I like the idea of beer and mustard in the dressing. I wonder if it would be a good idea to bloom the red onion in the vinegar first.

Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

Can't wait to make this Heidi. And Lyn to your fear about cutting the squash, this may sound crazy but if you drop a big squash on the kitchen floor (or any floor) it will crack in half and it will be much easier to slice off wedges.

Katherine Deumling

This sounds amazing! Kabocha is my favourite squash.


definitely also looking for non-alcoholic sub as I'm pregnant! can't think of anything off the top of my head for a dish like this. would sometimes use veg/chicken broth, but don't think that would work here...


Pardon if this question has already been asked. But what alternative could you use for the beer that would be non-alcoholic? Without a lot of sweetness, I think the squash provides that. Thanks!


I have been looking for the squash that New Zealanders refer to as pumpkin - could this be it?


You still have farmer's markets??how lucky!


Love that quick roasting of the squash, you are so right, it is so good that way and worth the schlep!...try it rubbed down with Garam Masala...I'm in love with that spice mix this season...and it would make a great side with the souffles I just posted...or a dish I posted a few weeks back..Chicken Tikka Masala. Thanks! Wish I could come to your signing AND be in SF for a few days!! Alas, it's another NYC winter for me!

I completely know what you mean other then when I go food shopping I have a 8month old little girl hanging on one arm and groceries fighting for air in bags hanging from my other.


Heidi, would you suggest a non alcoholic substitute for beer? thanks!

Deb Edgecombe

I, too, love Kabochas--so much sweeter and nicer than acorn or butternut. Alas, I can't always find them in my neck of the woods. Thanks for the super recipe.


I adore learning new ways to use winter squash. The salad sounds lovely :)

[email protected] Meals For Meat Eaters

Love, love, love kabocha squash! You're speaking my language. Headed to the market today. I hope there's still some left. Growing season is over here in frosty PA. :-)

Nikki Graham

LOVE kabocha squash! we grew them on the farm I worked at, and I used one to make pie this thanksgiving! my other favorite variety is the Buttercup squash- I highly recommend it!


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