Winter Salad

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This simple winter salad combines spring mix, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate, pecans, apple and feta cheese all tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette.

If you’ve been around EBF for awhile you know how much I love creating new salad recipes and today I’m sharing this epic winter salad with you!

It’s jam-packed with seasonal ingredients like apple, butternut squash, pecans and pomegranate all served over a bed of greens drizzled with a simple white balsamic vinaigrette. The combo is seriously so good!

I love serving this salad for dinner topped with some protein, but it also makes for a festive side salad to serve at Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. It’s guaranteed to be a hit with everyone!

Winter salad being served in a white bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Winter Salad

  • Seasonal – I love using seasonal ingredients whenever I can and this salad is the perfect example. It’s packed with winter squash, fresh apple, pomegranate seeds and pecans!
  • Flavorful – This salad has the perfect combo of sweet from the candied pecans and fresh fruit, tangy from the feta cheese and savory from the butternut squash. It’s packed with flavor in every bite!
  • Easy to make This salad recipe is pretty straightforward and made with simple ingredients. Once your butternut squash is roasted and dressing is made it comes together in no time. And be sure to check out some time-saving tips below!
  • Customizable – I love this salad as is, but feel free to switch things up based on your taste preferences or what you have on hand. It’s a versatile recipe that can be made with a variety of different ingredients.
Ingredients measured out to make a Winter Salad: spring mix, candied pecans, apple, pomegranate, butternut squash, white balsamic vinaigrette, feta, pepper, salt and olive oil.

Winter Salad Ingredients

  • spring mix or mixed greens – the base for our salad. I prefer to use spring mix or mixed greens, but feel free to use your favorite greens. Baby spinach, kale, collard greens, arugula and romaine lettuce would all be great options.
  • candied pecans – adds a sweet nutty crunch. You can make homemade candied pecans or use store-bought. Alternatively, toasted pecans are a great alternative if you don’t want the added sweetness. If you don’t have pecans on hand you could use walnuts (try these candied walnuts), almonds or cashews instead.
  • apple – adds a nice refreshing crunch. I used a honey crisp apple, but your favorite apple variety will work. If you don’t have an apple on hand pears or oranges would be a good substitute. For a more earthy flavor you could swap the apple with roasted beets.
  • feta cheese – adds a creamy, tangy element to the salad. If you’re not a fan of feta cheese try goat cheese instead.
  • pomegranate arils – adds a pop of color and festive spin to this salad. For a shortcut, grab ready-to-eat pomegranate arils so you don’t have to break apart a pomegranate to get the seeds. If pomegranate isn’t your thing or you can’t find any, swap them with dried cranberries or cherries.
  • white balsamic vinaigrette – I love my white balsamic vinaigrette for this salad, but feel free to use your favorite dressing. Some good substitutes are this apple cider vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette or creamy citrus tahini dressing.
  • butternut squash – I love the addition of roasted veggies to my salads. They add such a nice sweet, roasted flavor. As a substitute you could use roasted sweet potatoes, roasted honeynut squash or really any roasted vegetable of choice. Roasted carrots would be another great option.
  • avocado oil or olive oil – for roasting the squash.
  • sea salt & pepper – for seasoning the squash and dressing.
Winter salad being served in a white bowl with gold serving spoons.

Dietary Substitutions

  • Dairy-free/vegan: If you need this salad to be dairy-free or vegan swap the feta cheese with a dairy-free cheese option like this VIOLIFE Just Like Feta.
  • Nut-free: If you’re nut-free, then swap the pecans with roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead.

How to Make Winter Salad

Once your butternut squash is roasted and dressing is made this winter salad recipe comes together in a matter of minutes! Here’s how to make it:

Step 1: Toss your peeled and cubed butternut squash with oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400°F for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool after roasting.

Two side by side photos of a sheet pan with butternut squash before and after being roasted.

Step 2: In a large salad bowl, add your greens then top with the cooled roasted butternut squash, chopped apple, pecans, pomegranate arils and feta cheese. Drizzle the salad with the white balsamic vinaigrette and toss everything to combine before serving. Enjoy!

Photo of a salad with apples, pomegranate, roasted squash, pecans and feta. Photo beside it is a hand pouring dressing from a container onto the salad.

Tips For Success

  • Use ready-to-eat pomegranate arils: To save time make sure you grab ready-to-eat pomegranate seeds so you don’t have to get messy breaking apart a whole pomegranate.
  • Grab pre-chopped butternut squash: For another shortcut, grab pre-chopped butternut squash at the grocery store. Then all you have to do is toss the cubes in oil and seasonings and roast!
  • Don’t overcook squash: Butternut squash can easily get too soft if it’s cooked for too long, resulting in it getting mushy while mixing up your salad. Make sure you check your squash at the 20-minute mark and once it’s fork-tender it’s ready to be pulled from the oven.
Dressing being poured onto the winter salad.

How to Serve Winter Salad

This makes for the perfect side salad for any weeknight dinner or great addition to a holiday meal. I also love turning this salad into a meal-sized salad by topping it with some protein. Here are some serving suggestions for this winter salad:

Winter salad being served in a white bowl.

How to Prep Winter Salad Ahead of Time

If you’re wanting to meal prep this salad for weekday lunches or dinners or a just make it ahead of time for a holiday meal there are some steps you can take 1-2 days in advance to save time when you’re ready to eat. Here’s what I would do:

  1. Roast butternut squash and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. Make the dressing and store it in a mason jar or separate container in the fridge.
  3. Make the candied pecans or roasted pecans and store at room temperature in a bag.
  4. If you’re using a whole pomegranate, make sure to break it open and separate the seeds. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

When you’re ready to serve this salad, all you have to do is chop your apple, assemble and enjoy! I wouldn’t recommend cutting your apple in advance because it will get brown sitting in the fridge.

Winter salad being served in a white bowl.
How to Store Leftovers

Once this salad is assembled it’s best enjoyed right away. That said, you can definitely store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

If you’re planning to have leftovers I recommend adding the dressing to individual plates when serving instead of tossing the whole salad in the dressing. Then you can store the leftover dressing separately in a mason jar or airtight container to prevent the salad from getting soggy.

More Salads to Try

Be sure to check out all of the salad recipes here on EBF!

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5 from 6 votes

Winter Salad

This simple winter salad combines spring mix, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate, pecans, apple and feta cheese all tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients  

Salad

  • 4-5 ounces spring mix or mixed greens
  • cup candied pecans, or toasted pecans
  • ½ large chopped apple, I used honey crisp
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils

Roasted Butternut Squash

  • 3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of pepper

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon honey or maple syrup, plus more to taste
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Heat oven to 400°F. Toss butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.
    Roasted butternut squash on a baking sheet/
  • Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a glass bowl or jar until combined. Another option is to add all ingredients into a mason jar and shake to combine.
  • Add greens to a large salad bowl and top with roasted butternut squash, apple chunks, pecans, pomegranate arils and feta cheese.
    Winter salad being served in a white bowl.
  • Drizzle on dressing and toss to combine. Alternatively, you can plate the salad and drizzle each serving with dressing before serving. Enjoy!
    Dressing being poured onto the winter salad.

Nutrition

Serving: 1salad | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 442mg | Potassium: 325mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Winter Salad
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating




8 Comments

    1. Aww thank you SO much, Sharon. I am so happy you are loving my recipes and this one was a hit. Appreciate your review & star rating!

  1. Would this work if you sub white balsamic vinegar with regular balsamic vinegar? I don’t think I’ve ever seen white balsamic vinegar in Canada.

    TIA!

    1. YAY! I am so glad you gave this recipe a try and it turned out amazing for you, Virginia. Thank you for sharing your review & star rating, I truly appreciate it!

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe, made it a few times now usually use kale as my greens and everyone loves it. I usually make an orange and pomegranate molasses dressing to go with it

    1. YUM! This is so great to hear, Kate. Glad you are loving this salad and it is a hit of you. Thank you for sharing your review + star rating, I appreciate it!