A mouthwatering sweet balsamic-honey dressing is drizzled on top of this delicious roasted pumpkin salad with feta and walnuts. A delicious, hearty salad with wonderful Fall flavors!
This salad is great as a side dish or as a complete meal on its own. The best part is that you can make the salad components ahead of time, just like my wild rice salad.
Fresh salads are a favorite in my family, and for me, it’s a win-win if they can be thrown together quickly and easily.
This amazing salad, in my opinion, has the perfect balance of flavors, textures, and colors. It is sweet, salty, acidic, and nutty – all at the same time. Arugula, crumbled feta cheese, crunchy walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and tender caramelized roasted pumpkin add a variety of textures.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe?
- Ideal for Fall and Winter
- Soft and gooey and crunchy at the same time
- Bursting with flavors
- Super simple to prepare
- This recipe is gluten-free and can be made vegan
- Full of nutrients
- Easily customizable
- You can serve it for BBQs, everyday dinners, or holiday meals.
You need a few simple ingredients – most of them are already in your pantry.
Roasted Pumpkin: You may use any pumpkin or even butternut squash for this dish.
Arugula: Arugula adds a slightly tart and peppery flavor that balances out the sweetness of the pumpkin.
You can use any greens of your choice. Baby spinach tastes great. You can also use 1:1 of arugula and baby spinach. You can use spring green mix. Kale is a fantastic addition to this salad, too.
Walnuts: Walnuts add a nutty, earthy taste to the salad.
Cranberries: Add color and sweetness.
Feta: Feta adds a lovely soft and creamy element to the salad.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The ideal oil for dressings is extra virgin olive oil, which adds a unique peppery taste to the dish.
Balsamic Vinegar: It adds sweetness and a rich, smooth feel to the dressing. It adds a distinctive bold flavor to the salad.
Honey: This enhances the sweetness of the dressing. You can also use maple syrup in place of honey.
Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice provides a tang to the dressing.
Pumpkin Feta Salad – Health Benefits
Some health benefits of the main ingredients of this salad:
All types of pumpkin and squash are healthy due to their high concentration of carotenoids, which fight cancer and promote skin health.
Arugula is an excellent source of micronutrients. It contains a lot of beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, and magnesium. Arugula’s nutrients support the body’s circulatory, neurological, and digestive systems, providing several health advantages.
Walnuts are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. They are known to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer and boost brain function. You can also use pecans in this salad if you prefer.
Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and play an essential role in reducing inflammation and boosting immunity.
Feta is a great source of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Various health benefits include blood pressure regulation, digestive health improvement, and heart and bone health promotion.
One of the healthiest fats is olive oil, a Mediterranean diet’s mainstay. It has a lot of healthy fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins E and K.
How To Make?
Step 1: Roast The Pumpkin
The pumpkin should be cleaned and cut into small cubes. Toss the cubed pumpkin in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. On a baking sheet, spread them and bake till tender.
You can also roast pumpkin in the air fryer. It is quicker and a favorite way to roast pumpkin cubes.
Step 2: Make the Dressing
To make the dressing, shake together all ingredients mentioned under the dressing. It can be mixed in a small mason jar. It can also be prepared in a mixing bowl using a whisk.
Step 3: Assemble and Combine
Add the greens to a large bowl or platter. Drizzle some dressing and mix.
Spread the roasted pumpkin, walnuts, feta, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds on top.
Drizzle the vinaigrette dressing over the salad, and enjoy!
This salad is perfect for a thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Perfect fall flavors and a gorgeous red-green-orange color!
This is a versatile recipe; you can try so many variations.
Nuts: Replace the walnuts with pecans. You can also use slivered almonds. I love roasted pine nuts on my salad- they are creamy and have a distinct flavor.
Pomegranate seeds: No cranberries – don’t fret! Use pomegranate seeds for the amazing texture, taste, and pop of color.
Cheese: Swap feta with goat cheese or gorgonzola to add a great twist. You can even add cubes of paneer (Indian cottage cheese). If you are vegan – skip the cheese or use any plant-based cheese.
Butternut squash/ Sweet Potato: A fantastic alternative to the pumpkin that is always easier to procure is butternut squash. Sweet potatoes, instead of pumpkin or squash, make a delicious salad.
Grains: Add quinoa or couscous to add bulk for a hearty meal.
- You can serve it at room temperature or warm. I like mine warm, especially on winter nights – If you want to serve this salad warm, add the pumpkin straight from the oven. If you want your salad to be at room temperature, allow the pumpkin to cool before adding it.
- Cut the pumpkin into even cubes. This will ensure uniform roasting.
- The pumpkin should be soft and have a lovely golden color. Do not overcook as it can turn mushy in the salad.
- Because ovens can vary in temperature, the amount of time it takes to roast a pumpkin can also vary.
- You can easily adjust the recipe if you are making it for a bigger group.
- You can roast the pumpkin chunks up to two days ahead of time.
- I suggest you roast the nuts slightly for a deeper, nutty flavor.
- This dressing can also be made up to two days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
- Add the dressing only when serving, or else the salad will turn soggy.
What To Serve With?
Soup and Salad is the perfect meal. Serve this pumpkin salad with any soup of your choice. Some inspirations are – Instant Pot Mushroom Wild Rice Soup, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, or Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.
Serve it with some plain grilled chicken, fish, or tofu.
This salad becomes the ideal Thanksgiving side dish along with Turkey.
How To Store?
I recommend not storing any leftovers, as the dressing can make the salad soggy.
But if you want to make it ahead and refrigerate, you can store the salad ingredients and dressing separately in the fridge for up to 2 days. Combine everything just before serving. This way, the salad will turn mushy, and the leaves will be crunchy.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can this salad be made nut-free?
Yes, eliminate the walnuts from the recipe.
When should the dressing be added?
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss the ingredients right before serving, or your greens will lose their texture and turn soggy.
Can I use store-bought dressing?
Certainly! You can use a store-bought dressing of your choice. I prefer homemade dressings, though, and it doesn’t take long to make them.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
- Air Fryer Pumpkin
- Creamy Vegan Curried Pumpkin Soup
- Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins
- Thai Pumpkin Red Curry
- Indian Mashed Pumpkin Curry
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Salad (with Feta & Walnuts)
For Roasting Pumpkin
- 4 cups Arugula, 5oz, or baby kale
- 1/3 cup Crumbled feta cheese, 2oz
- 2 tablespoon Dried cranberries , or pomegranate seeds
- 2 tablespoon Walnuts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Toasted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Toss the cubed pumpkin in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Spread the pumpkin onto the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Half way through remove from oven and flip. Then remove and let cool.
- To make the dressing, mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a cup or a jar. Shake well!
- In a large mixing bowl or serving platter, add the arugula leaves. Drizzle a little dressing and toss.
- Spread the roasted pumpkin cubes, feta, walnut, dried cranberries, and toasted pumkin seeds .
- Drizzle the dressing onto the salad. Toss gently when serving. Enjoy!