This roasted Butternut Squash & Spinach Salad with toasted walnuts & seeds makes for the perfect gluten free & plant based side dish!
I always know if a recipe that I make is good based on Devin’s reaction. There are only a handful of vegetables that he likes so I really have to use my creativity when making vegetable based dishes. But this roasted butternut squash & spinach salad hit the spot! Devin immediately asked if I could make it everyday. That’s how I know it’s a winner!
Sometimes the best recipes just come from using the ingredients sitting in your fridge without an end goal. That’s exactly what happened when I created this recipe. I knew I wanted to make some sort of salad with butternut squash, because I had a squash in my fridge & then I also had spinach that needed to be used up too. I’m all about using everything I can in my refrigerator because nothing infuriates me more than throwing food away.
And aside from roasting the squash, it took mere minutes to throw the rest of this salad together. It has a subtle spice & a little sweetness to it, making it the perfect side dish to virtually any dinner. I served it as a side with a creamy (vegan) cauliflower soup recipe that I have been obsessed with lately from Blissful Basil.
If you missed my last post, I talked about my decision to follow an intuitively plant based diet. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I’m about 2 months in…so I’ve really been experimenting with different combinations of foods & recipes to still keep meals fun & tasting good, of course!
And Devin, being a trooper as always, is fully on board with me in regards to this new plant based lifestyle. His basketball team is still in season so he is still consuming a little meat but other than that, he wants a plate of veggies & I’m 100% okay with that! It’s honestly rather exciting, because in relation to many things in life, you can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do. I would never push my beliefs onto someone else, so it’s nice that he is making an effort to do this with me!
On the topic of plant based food options, I think there is a misconception that all plant based meals consist of steamed broccoli & raw carrots. While that might seem a little dramatic, I feel like many people don’t see the full potential of vegetables! The options for creativity are endless! Which is another reason I want to share more plant based recipes.
Like I mentioned earlier, this recipe is so easy to throw together. The thing that takes the most time is prepping the butternut squash. But it’s so worth it. I personally like to leave it in the oven a little longer after it’s done roasting so that the edges of the cubes almost become caramelized. Seriously tastes like candy!
For this butternut squash & spinach salad, I used fresh spinach but feel free to use any green of choice! This salad would also be excellent with a handful of sautéed mushrooms, onions, or some fresh garlic. I didn’t add any mushrooms or onions when I made this because Devin despises the two, but I think they would be a delicious add in!
Butternut Squash & Spinach Salad
This roasted butternut squash & spinach salad with toasted nuts makes for the perfect vegan & gluten free side dish to any meal!
- 1 Medium Butternut Squash
- 4 Large Handfuls Spinach
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Walnuts
- 1 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
- 1.5 tbsp Hemp Hearts
- 1 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Cumin
- Salt & Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Wash, peel, & slice down the center of the butternut squash before removing the seeds with a spoon. Dice the entire butternut squash into small cubes.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange the butternut squash cubes so that they aren't touching each other.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the Olive Oil over the butternut squash cubes, as well as, the Cinnamon, Cumin, & Salt & Pepper. Toss thoroughly.
Bake the squash for 35 minutes, flipping the squash half way through.
When the squash has about 5-10 minutes left, heat up 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil on the stovetop. Add the fresh spinach. Sauté on low heat until the spinach has wilted down.
Taking a medium to small frying pan, slightly toast the walnuts, pumpkin seeds, & sunflower seeds over very low heat. Watch them closely, because they can quickly burn!
Take the butternut squash out of the oven. After it cools down a bit, add the butternut squash to a large bowl along with the spinach, toasted nuts, & seeds.
Add the maple syrup, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, & a little pink salt before mixing well!
- This recipe does incorporate walnuts. Substitute more seeds of choice to replace the walnuts to accommodate an allergy or personal preference.
- I added a pinch of alfalfa sprouts to the top of the salad. This step is completely optional.
- Although I added nutritional yeast, maple syrup, & hemp hearts, this recipe would still be tasty with just the squash, spinach, toasted nuts, a drizzle of Olive Oil & a sprinkle of pink salt!
If you tried this Butternut Squash Spinach Salad, or any other recipe on the blog, let me know if you enjoyed it by leaving a comment or rating below!