Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad
December 2023, Recipes

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad

By Nichole Banducci

You’ve gotta try this perfect, unexpected fall / winter salad. It’s a family favorite during the holidays, but honestly, I can sit down with a plate of it at any time. Roasted squash, onions, and apples provide a uniquely delicious base, highlighted by tart cranberries, crunchy pecans, and salty/sweet manchego cheese. The best part? You can make it ahead and serve it at room temperature. Of course, it’s also delicious straight from the fridge. (Original recipe given to my mom by Chef José Sanchez.)


For roasting

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into wedges

4 Fuji apples, peeled and cut into wedges

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil to coat

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Salad mix-ins

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup manchego cheese, diced

1 tsp chopped, fresh sage

1 tsp chopped, fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

Salad dressing

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp cranberry syrup (ingredients below)

Cranberry syrup

2 cups cranberry juice

½ cup red wine

2 tbsp sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • In a baking pan, toss the “for roasting” ingredients
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes until the squash is barely fork-tender, but not mushy
  • Let the roasted ingredients cool
  • To a large serving bowl, add the cooled roasted ingredients, plus pecans, cranberries, manchego cheese, sage, parsley, olive oil, and vinegar
  • Drizzle with about 2 tbsp cranberry syrup (instructions below), and stir to incorporate
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cranberry syrup

Place cranberry juice, red wine, and sugar in a small saucepan and reduce on medium heat to a syrup consistency, stirring sporadically. (You’ll end up with about 1/4 cup of syrup.)

Recipe notes

  • You’ll want to cube the squash, apples, and onions first thing. Get them in the oven so you can work on the other elements.
  • Next, start the cranberry syrup, which will simmer down in the background (keep an eye on it, but you don’t have to stir constantly if it’s at the right temperature).
  • You can serve the salad right away, or store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Longer than that, the manchego cheese starts to break down and the salad loses its complexity.
  • The recipe gives you about 2 tbsp of extra cranberry syrup. This is gold in a margarita or a glass of bubbly during the holidays.
December 8, 2023

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