Roasted Pear Squash Winter Salad is a satisfying make-ahead meal. Roasted pears and acorn squash lay on a bed of arugula sprinkled with pecans, dried cranberries, and whipped goat cheese. A drizzle of homemade balsamic reduction rounds it out for the perfect meal!
Salads are not just summer food!
This Roasted Pear Squash Winter Salad is here to prove me right! We have been eating lots of salads lately because they are easy make-ahead meals. All I have to do is prep during the weekend, have all elements ready to go, and I can quickly assemble this fancy salad even during the busy times of the week.
Acorn squash is perfect for winter salads!
I used acorn squash, which is available during the colder months, fall and winter. We have been eating roasted acorn squash on repeat this season at my house.
It’s so easy to roast it, and so delicious! Make sure to brush it with some olive oil and sprinkle salt on top. You can also dress it up with other spices, as you wish. Sometimes I like to sprinkle some turmeric, black pepper, or even powdered garlic over roasted acorn squash. A lot of people like to sprinkle cinnamon over their acorn squash too, and eat perhaps with a yogurt dipping or almond butter.
For this recipe, I kept it simple since we were having so many elements and I wanted each flavor to shine and incorporate nicely together.
Have you ever had roasted pear?
If not, get in the kitchen right now, preheat the oven, slice a pear in half, core it, and get to roasting! You can roast the halved pear or slice it like I did for this salad. You can brush butter on the pear, or olive oil which was my choice. I also brushed some honey over the pear slices which made them caramelized, sweet, and divine. My husband and I couldn’t stop snacking on the pear slices. Good thing I actually roasted a couple of them instead of just one!
Don’t forget the homemade balsamic reduction!
Another delicious element of this salad is the balsamic reduction. I used to always be intimidated by the name “balsamic reduction”, thinking it would be hard to make before I got deep into cooking. There’s nothing that could be easier than making a balsamic reduction sauce.
Simply place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan, bring it to a slow simmer, and let it reduce. You can add honey or maple syrup to the vinegar to help enhance the sweetness and depth of flavor. I went with honey since I also used it to glaze the roasted pears.
Make sure to let the balsamic cool down before using it in the salad. Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months in an air tight container.
Once all elements are ready, all you have to do is assemble the salad. This Winter Salad with Squash and Pears is also perfect for meal prep, since you can prepare all elements ahead, the day before, or even a couple of days before, and just combine them before serving.
How to serve the perfect winter salad:
I served this Winter Salad with some toasted sourdough bread. I simply brushed the bread with olive oil and placed it in the oven for 8 minutes before serving.
Feel free to serve it with croutons, or simply as is.
The best thing about this salad is that it’s easily customizable. You can add any nuts you’d like, dried fruits, seeds, replace the squash for pumpkin, and make this entirely your own creation.
- 1 small acorn squash
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 medium pear
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup creamy goat cheese
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt
- 4 cups arugula
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup roasted pecans
- Croutons or toasted bread
- Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.
- Slice squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, cut into strips. Place each strip of squash on a baking sheet. Brush both sides of each squash piece with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt on top.
- Place it in the oven and roast for 45-60 minutes, flipping the squash strips halfway.
- Remove once both sides look browned. Let it cool.
- Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.
- Slice the pear in half lengthwise. Remove the core with a spoon.
- Cut pear into thin slices.
- Place each slice on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Brush pear slices with honey and olive oil.
- Roast for 20-30 minutes, flipping slices in between.
- Place balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, while you let the sauce reduce.
- Remove to a jar and let it cool down.
- Place goat cheese and heavy cream in the bowl of a mixer.
- Cream at medium-high speed for 1 minute, until creamy and smooth
- Add salt to taste.
- Arrange arugula on a serving plate.
- Layer squash and pear slices on top.
- Sprinkle pecans and cranberries over the arugula.
- Spoon some of the whipped goat cheese on top of the salad.
- Before serving, drizzle the balsamic reduction on top.
- Serve with croutons or toasted bread.
Home Chef Tip: You can sub the arugula for any other greens. You can also sub the nuts, or the dried cranberries, for your favorite nuts and dried fruit.
We hope you enjoy this Roasted Pear Squash Winter Salad from SoFabFood Home Chef, Camila from Pies and Tacos, as much as we do. If you love this recipe, you can find more like it by visiting our Salad Section. For daily recipe inspiration, like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!