The pumpkin and beetroot salad is a simple, colorful and delicious side dish that is beautiful and easy to prepare. Roasted beets and pumpkin (butternut squash) mixed with baby spinach and spicy arugula served with soft goats cheese, sprinkled with herbs and splashed with a simple dressing.
I love this salad, the colors make a beautiful plate. The soft goat cheese and roasted beetroot is a delicious combination, and making it with feta or blue cheese are also great tasting options. This colorful salad is a great side dish, but stands on its own as a fantastic dish (just make sure you prepare enough). A fantastic tasty, easy, gluten free recipe.
In this recipe: pumpkin = butternut = squash, beetroot = beet, pumpkin seed = pepita
How to Make Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad
Peel and cube a small pumpkin (butternut squash) and cook 3 or 4 small beetroots. Roast the squash in the preheated oven while boiling the beets. Peel and cube the cooked beets. In a large salad bowl place arugula and baby spinach, top with roasted beets and squash, crumble goats cheese, sprinkle pumpkin seeds over, lightly toss. Make a simple balsamic dressing. Sprinkle the dressing and arrange the colorful components for a beautiful and delicious salad.
How to Cut and Roast a Butternut Squash
See our detailed post how to quick and easy cut and peel butternut squash.
How to Peel a Butternut Squash
The skin is edible, so peeling is not a requirement, but can be chewy and unpleasant to eat, so we prefer to peel them. You don’t want such a beautiful salad with some pieces that are difficult to chew.
- Cut off about 1/4-inch of the top and bottom of the squash.
- Cut the butternut squash into two pieces by cutting the bulb of the neck.
- Peel the bulb and neck separately using a sharp Y peeler.
Cutting a Butternut Pumpkin
- Slice the bulb and neck down the middle by placing each piece upright on the cutting board and slicing down the middle.
- Scoop the seeds out of the bulb halves by using a spoon.
- Place each quarter of squash on the cutting board with the flat side down and cut into strips
- Cut the squash strips into cubes.
How to Roast a Butternut Pumpkin
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F/200 C
- Sprinkle olive oil and salt over the pumpkin pieces.
- Add the pumpkin to a baking tray and roast for around 30 minutes turning half way.
How to Cut and Cook a Beet
How to Peel and cook a Beet
Beet skin is also edible, but similar to butternut pumpkin we prefer to peel this vegetable for use in the salad. Beet can be peeled raw with a vegetable peeler, but I find the easiest way is to just rub the skin off a cooked beetroot with a paper towel while still warm.
- Wash the beets well.
- Place the beets in a pot and completely submerge in cold water, bring to the boil.
- When it starts to boil, bring the temperature down to simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
- Strain and let the beets cool down, rub the skin of with a paper towel. Be careful not to stain surfaces, I usually work on news paper and cut the beets by placing wax paper on my plastic cutting board.
Cutting a Beet
- Place the cooked beet root side down on the cutting board and cut into slices of about 1/2 inch (1cm)
- Cut the slices in half.
Roasted Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad with Goat Cheese and Sunflower seeds
- 600 gram (1 small/medium) butternut squash pumpkin about 2 cups diced pumpkin
- 400 grams beetroot (3 medium size)
- 100 grams soft goat cheese
- 30 grams arugula – rocket (3 cups)
- 40 grams baby spinach (2 cups)
- 30 grams pumpkin seeds (toasted) – papitas
- salt and pepper to taste
- BALSAMIC DRESSING
- 5 ml balsamic vinegar (1 tsp)
- 45 ml olive oil (3 tbsp)
- 15 ml red wine vinegar (1 tbsp)
- 2 cloves garlic cloves chopped
- Dressing – Mix the 'balsamic dressing, ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well.
- Peel the pumpkin (squash), remove the seeds and cut into small cubes (about 2cm).
- Sprinkle squash cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Put beetroots in pot with cold water, bring to a boil, simmer for 30 minutes, drain, cool down.
- Remove beetroot skin by rubbing of skin from warm beetroots with paper towel.
- Cut into small cubes (about 2cm)
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
- Roast the squash cubes in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, turning over halfway through.
- Mix and arrange arugula, baby spinach, roasted beets, squash in large salad bowl, crumble goats cheese, sprinkle balsamic dressing and pumpkin seeds over the salad, lightly toss.
Tips for making Butternut and Beetroot Salad
- Cutting beets can result in terrible stains on surfaces, so use a plastic cutting board and clean immediately after cutting.
- I work careful and cover surfaces with newspaper, you can place wax paper on your cutting board before cutting the beetroots.
- Beets and squash can be cooked ahead and stored in an air tight container in the fridge safely for 3 days. So you can do the most labor intensive part of meal prep far ahead.
Possible Salad Variations
Change the cheese – We have made the salad various different of cheeses, if you like the strong, flavorful taste of blue cheese it really makes a very tasty pumpkin and beetroot salad. Feta cheese or mozzarella both work very well. We used mozzarella when Alya was pregnant since we tried to stick to cheese made from pasteurized cow milk.
Use different pumpkin – Different kinds of pumpkin can be used to make this salad, we prefer using butternut pumpkin, It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. Butternut squash is more nutritionally well-rounded. If you are on a calorie restricted diet large pumpkin is the way to go (Jack o lantern kind) since pumpkins have fewer carbs and calories.
Nutritional data was calculated with an online tool and you can verify it using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Ingredients for Butternut pumpkin and Beetroot Salad
Butternut Pumpkin (Squash)
Butternut squash, also known as butternut pumpkin has a sweet, nutty taste similar to pumpkin. The name ‘butternut’ comes from its buttery flesh and nutty flavour. It is a winter squash that grows on a vine, but is available all year round. The squash has a tan-yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. Butternut pumpkin has a compartment of seeds in the blossom end.
This pumpkin is low in calories and high in fibre making it a great food to include in a reduced calorie diet.
Beetroot is also known as beet, red beet, table beet or garden beet. It is a root vegetable with dark purple skin and pink/purple flesh. Loaded with vitamins and minerals and low in calories and fat, beetroot has an impressive variety of health benefits and is excellent to include in a reduced calorie diet.
Goat cheese or chevre, is cheese made from goat’s milk. It is a nutritious dairy product that is packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Goat cheese comes in a wide variety of flavors and textures. Soft goat cheese is spreadable, and it is often sold and served in a log shape. Goat cheese is also available mixed with fresh herbs.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as papitas, are an edible seed typically roasted for consumption. The seeds of a pumpkin are flat and oval with a white outer husk, the seeds are light green in color after the husk is removed.
Arugula is a distinctive peppery tasting green from the Mediterranean region. It’s also known as rucola, salad rocket, and Italian cress. The spicy taste of arugula results in it being tasty on its own with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It is very popular raw on a variety of dishes such as pizzas, salads and sandwiches.
Baby spinach is spinach leaves that are harvested early before they fully mature. These young leaves are still delicate enough to eat raw.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of nutrients and healthy oils, with many proven health benefits ranging from diabetes to pregnant women.//#recipejump
How Healthy is this Salad with Pumpkin and Butternut?
Pumpkin health benefits
Pumpkin squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It has proven benefits for a range of conditions including cancer, heart disease and mental decline. This low-calorie, fiber-rich squash has also been shown to be effective in weight loss.
Beetroot Health Benefits
Beets are packed with essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals and other plant compounds such as inorganic nitrates and pigments which have health benefits. Studies have shown that beets can significantly lower blood pressure, have anti-inflammatory properties and can improve digestive health.
Beetroot is excellent for a low calorie diet since it is low in calories and fat.
Arugula health benefits
Arugula is known for a variety of health benefits including lowering your risk of heart disease, helping with weight loss, improving eye health, reducing cancer risk, controlling blood pressure, helps with digestion, helps to prevent diabetes and it benefits healthy bones and skin.
Baby spinach health benefits
Baby spinach is rich in vitamin K and magnesium, both these nutrients are important nutrients for bone health
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