This Butternut Beetroot Salad is an incredible autumn salad. Herb roasted butternut and beets, fresh honeycrisp apple, salty feta, cinnamon candied pepitas, and a creamy apple cider dressing all top a bed of massaged kale. It's one seriously satisfying salad!
There's nothing quite like a good autumn salad. Fall salads often feature heartier ingredients, warm spices, and varying cooked vs. raw textures, and this butternut beetroot salad is no exception.
There's warm, roasted butternut squash and beets, kale massaged with a simple, healthy creamy apple cider dressing, crisp apple, salty feta, and cinnamon candied pumpkin seeds.
This salad is delicious -- and versatile. It works whether you need a salad for your weekly meal prep, or need a salad to feature on your Thanksgiving menu. (Need more Thanksgiving menu vegetable sides? Try these cinnamon glazed carrots, prosciutto green beans, and maple miso roasted vegetables.)
Why This Butternut Beetroot Salad Recipe is SO Good!
- The massaged kale becomes super tender.
- It's full of produce and other nourishing foods.
- There is so much flavor!
- Lots of texture variation - chewy, soft, crisp, crunchy, creamy.
- It's incredibly satisfying.
- Packed with toppings - the best part of a salad!
- It's so delicious!
For a full ingredient list with quantities, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Kale: This nutrient-dense dark leafy green serves as the base of the salad.
- Butternut Squash: Diced and tossed in herbs, the butternut gets roasted to perfection.
- Beets: Another sweeter root vegetable, which also gets roasted.
- Apple: A honeycrisp apple provides a deliciously sweet, crunchy, crisp, fresh element to this beetroot and butternut salad.
- Pepitas: Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, get candied in maple syrup and cinnamon for a subtly-sweet, crunchy, chewy, fun addition.
- Feta: Every salad needs a good creamy element, and the feta pairs perfectly with the roasted butternut and beets here!
- Creamy Apple Cider Vinaigrette: My creamy apple cider dressing is a match in heaven for this salad. You massage it into the kale and it perfectly ties all the flavors together.
- Seasoning: elevate different elements of the dish with flavors from herbes de Provence, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
For complete instructions, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Roast cubed butternut and beets.
- Saute pumpkin seeds to candy them.
- Transfer pumpkin seeds to a piece of parchment paper to allow them to harden and become more chewy and crunchy as they cool.
- Make the dressing.
- Massage some of the dressing into the kale.
- Assemble the salad with all the toppings.
- To massage kale, you quite literally treat it like you're giving it a massage! I know that sounds kind of weird, but between the mechanical action of rubbing and almost "kneading" the dressing into the kale, along with the acidity in the dressing, the kale gets super tender, easier to chew, and so flavorful.
- When making the candied pumpkin seeds, don't wait for them to get hard as you're sautéing them. They will harden some as they cool.
- And if you're busy? Try preparing the components in advance! Admittedly there are several components that go into this salad, but the good news is that you can make many in advance! Up to 24 hours beforehand, you can make the dressing, roast the butternut and beets, make the candied pepitas, and even massage the kale. Be sure to store the prepped dressing, veggies, and massaged kale in airtight containers in the fridge.
Substitutions & Variations
- You can use pre-chopped and even pre-roasted butternut and beets to save time.
- I highly recommend keeping the kale - but if you're opting for a different, lighter green (like romaine or butter lettuce), skip massaging it and serve the dressing on the side.
- Use whatever apple you prefer.
- Not a fan of pumpkin seeds? Try using chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
- Instead of feta you can use goat cheese, sharp white cheddar, gorgonzola or bleu cheese.
You can prep multiple components in advance: the creamy apple cider dressing, the roasted beets and butternut, the candied pumpkin seeds, and the massaged kale. Don't make more than 24 hours in advance, and everything except the pumpkin seeds must stored in the fridge.
The salad lasts up to 3 days total in the fridge, but is best fresh.
I also highly advise against storing the cut apple and crumbled feta on the salad. The feta will kind of rub off on the toppings and kale around it, and the apples will brown the longer they're cut.
Supplies You'll Need
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More Salad Recipes You'll Love
- Winter Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
- Chickpea Quinoa Salad with Turnip Greens
- Blueberry Kale Salad
- Greek Lentil Salad
- Fresh Beetroot Salad
- Peach Burrata Salad
- Cranberry Apple Harvest Salad
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Butternut Beetroot Salad
Roasted Butternut & Beets:
- 2 cups butternut squash peeled, cubed (~1 inch cubes)
- 1 cup beetroot peeled, cubed (~1 inch cubes)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
CINNAMON CANDIED PEPITAS:
- ¼ cup pepitas raw
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch salt
CREAMY APPLE CIDER DRESSING:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt plain, fat-free
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
OTHER SALAD INGREDIENTS:
- 8 cups shredded kale
- 1 honeycrisp apple diced
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- On a baking sheet, add cubed butternut squash, beets, oil, salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender.2 cups butternut squash, 1 cup beetroot, 1 tablespoon avocado oil, 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Meanwhile, make the candied pepitas. Heat oil in a small skillet, then add the pepitas, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Saute 2-3 minutes, then transfer pumpkin seeds to a piece of parchment paper, spreading them out to allow them to harden as they cool.¼ cup pepitas, 1 teaspoon avocado oil, 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup, pinch cinnamon, pinch salt
- Prepare the creamy apple cider dressing by adding all ingredients to a small bowl and whisking 1-2 minutes, until thoroughly emulsified.1 cup Greek yogurt, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Take a ½ cup of the dressing and pour it over the shredded kale. Using very clean (or gloved) hands, gently massage the dressing into the kale, until every piece of kale is coated.8 cups shredded kale
- Place massaged kale in a serving bowl or platter. Top with roasted butternut squash, beets, candied pepitas, crumbled feta, and diced apple. Serve remaining dressing on the side to be drizzled over the salad as desired.½ cup crumbled feta cheese, 1 honeycrisp apple