This roasted delicata squash salad with warm pickled onion dressing is a superfood bonanza! It’s filled with healthy vegetables, nuts for protein and topped with a delicious dressing.  AND it’s a wilt-free no-lettuce salad that makes a healthy and delicious lunch and dinner. You can’t go wrong!

Delicata Salad with Warm Pickled Onion Dressing in a bowl

Why We Love This Recipe For Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know better than anyone that I can go on and on about salad. Salad this! Salad that! Too be fair, they’re just so fun to make because the options are endless. They can be savory, they can be sweet, they can be protein-laden, easy side dishes, or main courses.

When most of us think about salads, the first thing that comes to mind is a basic garden salad with mixed lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. Now, as good as those salads can be, a salad technically doesn’t need to have any of those things. Especially the lettuce part.

Let’s take this delicata squash salad, for example. There’s not a spec of lettuce to be found! And we love that. This one is filled with other good-for-you, filling, healthy and fresh ingredients like cabbage, squash, walnuts, onion, apple, and more.

This delicata salad would be perfect to make as a lunch or dinner any time of the year. If you’re feeling generous and want to share, make it as a side dish instead to serve with dinner or bring to a dinner party.

The best part about it is that it stores well in the fridge, so you can easily make it the day before. OR, make an extra-large batch and eat it throughout the week!

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

Delicata squash

Delicata squash is a winter squash that tastes amazing in soup, salad, and regular dinner and lunch recipes. The best part about a delicate squash is that you can eat all parts of it, even the skin!

Shredded cabbage

For this recipe I chose to use red cabbage. It’s full of vitamins and other healthy nutrients and adds tons of crunch and freshness to this salad! You could also use white cabbage if you’d like, but I highly recommend red cabbage. It’s a little more peppery and flavorful.

Red onion

Nothing beats pickled red onion, especially on salads and grain bowls. You could even make extra and store it in the fridge to add to other meals. The only thing is that I wouldn’t recommend using a yellow or white onion instead. Bite the bullet and take that extra trip to the grocery store!

Apple

Apples are one of my faves in salads. I diced the apple into little cubes for added crunch and sweetness. It blends well with the pepperiness of the cabbage, and the richness of the toasted walnuts. You can use any red apple, but I absolutely love honeycrisps.

Toasted walnuts

Walnuts and all other nuts are super easy to toast in the oven. You don’t have to toast them, but they become buttery, golden, and super crunchy when you do, making them a perfect addition to this salad.

Italian parsley

Parsley comes in a few different forms. Italian parsley is also known as flat-leaf parsley and has a stronger flavor. You can easily use curly parsley instead if that’s all you have.

Celery Hearts

Celery hearts sound fancier than they are. Celery hearts are what you typically eat when you eat celery. They’re the tender long stems that you buy at the store (the outermost stocks have been removed). We like to include the light green frilly leaves in this recipe because they are slightly bitter and add an interesting balance to the sweet and sour flavors of the salad.

Additional Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or use agave to make it vegan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
Roasted Delicata Squash Salad in a serving bowl

Step by Step Instructions to Make This Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

Step 1: Roast squash

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the delicata in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds and pulp. Cut lengthwise again, and then into 1/4-inch quarter-moons. Toss the delicata in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until coated. Spread out in a single layer onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once or twice, until tender and darkened in spots, 16 to 20 minutes.

Step 2: Make dressing

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, honey, caraway, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave until boiling-hot, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir in onion. Set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Step 3: Assemble delicata salad

Toss the cabbage, apple, celery hearts, the hot roasted delicata squash, and the warm pickled onion dressing in a large salad bowl. Divide the salad among four plates and top with walnuts and parsley (if using).

FAQs and Expert Tips

How to store this salad:

Store this salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Although it’ll still taste okay after that, some of the veggies might start to lose their crunch after that.

Make extra pickled red onion:

If you want to make an extra large batch of pickled red onion, chop or slice a whole red onion and place in a sealable jar or container with 1 cup white wine vinegar, 1 cup water, and the remaining pickled onion ingredients.

Make ahead:

If you’re hoping to make this salad ahead, I would recommend prepping the vegetables. Roast the squash, make the pickled red onion, and cut the red cabbage the night or day before and assemble when ready to serve.

Additional Squash Recipes to Try

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Roasted Delicata Salad with Warm Pickled Onion Dressing | wilt-free | no-lettuce | Dinner | Lunch | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Warm Pickled Onion Dressing

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Roasted Delicata Salad with Warm Pickled Onion Dressing is a wilt-free no-lettuce salad that makes a fresh and healthy lunch and dinner. It’s filled with healthy vegetables, nuts for protein and topped with a delicious dressing. You can’t go wrong!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 medium delicata squash
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or use agave to make it vegan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 large apple, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery hearts (preferably with leaves)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, cut into strips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut delicata in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and pulp. Cut lengthwise again, and then into 1/4-inch quarter-moons. Toss delicata in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until coated. Spread out in a single layer onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once or twice, until tender and darkened in spots, 16 to 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile combine vinegar, honey, caraway, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave until boiling-hot, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir in onion. Set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
  4. Toss cabbage, apple, celery hearts, the hot roasted delicata squash, and the warm pickled onion dressing in a large salad bowl. Divide among four plates and top with walnuts and parsley (if using).

Notes

Make Ahead:

If you’re hoping to make this salad ahead, I would recommend prepping the vegetables. Roast the squash, make the pickled red onion, and cut the red cabbage the night or day before and assemble when ready to serve.


Nutrition

  • Calories: 315
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Sodium: 370 mg
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 3 g