Warm Acorn Squash Salad

by Kiran on December 16, 2011 · 73 comments

in Salads, Sides, Vegetarian

Yeah, I know. Salad on a Friday?!?

Am I kidding you? Nope.

But this salad is just as delicious and appealing – girl scout’s promise.

Sneaking in cold salads during winter is sorta like having ice cream in freezing temperatures.

I am fine with ice cream. All through winter.

As for salad? Not too much 🙁

The idea of eating soups with cold salad sort of unappealing, no?

Not if it’s a warm salad. I’d say, “bring ’em on!

Of course, winter or otherwise, there should always be an excuse to fire up the grill, crack open a squash, sprinkle on some herbs and grilled the heck out of it.

And the end result is a platter of warm salad to accompany hot soups and a fireplace.

We can’t deny the crisp and crunch factor either. I mean, a wilted salad is fine but would be absolutely delicious with a crunch from apples, cashews and tartness from cranberries.

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  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 2/3 cup of halved fresh cranberries
  • 1 heaping tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp all spice (cinnamon, nutmeg & clove powder)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • some cooking spray
  • 3 handfuls of spring mix or fresh greens of choice
  • 2 small honeycrisps or apple of choice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • a handful of raw toasted cashews for garnish


  1. Add honey and halved cranberries in a bowl. Toss and allow to macerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meantime, slice the bottom of acorn squash for stability. Then halve it. Scoop out the seeds and slice 1/2 inch thick, diagonally.
  3. Toss acorn squash slices with all spice, salt, brown sugar and extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Heat a griddle or grill on medium-high and add non-stick cooking spray. Line marinated acorn squash and cook for 4 minutes on each side.
  5. Slice apples and add lemon juice to prevent browning.
  6. In a fancy platter, spread out a layer of greens of choice. I used spring mix.
  7. Add grilled acorn squash, sliced honeycrips, cranberries and toasted cashews for crunch.
  8. Toss & serve it as a warm appetizer for the holidays 🙂


Here’s hoping your holiday festivities is filled with laughter, colors, warmth and a decent amount of indulgence 🙂

What are your favorite winter salads?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 mycookinghut December 16, 2011 at 4:36 PM

I love this warm salad. Looks really healthy and good!
mycookinghut recently posted..malaysian-thai chicken curry

2 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Thanks dear — believe it or not, I had this salad 5 days after refrigeration and it still tastes so good 🙂

3 vianney December 16, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Warm salads…oh I would love a huge bowl of this in our current weather. yummy pics!!
vianney recently posted..Homemade Corn Tortillas for the Holidays with Maseca

4 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 1:16 AM

Thanks sweetie — I love salads but hate eating them chilled during winter.

5 Simply Life December 16, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Oh this is such a creative idea to make salads appealing in the cold months! As always, GORGEOUS photos!!
Simply Life recently posted..My Gift to You: Vegetable Dumpling Soup

6 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 1:28 AM

Thanks sweetie 🙂

7 Kath December 16, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Wow, that looks wonderfully warm! Love the warm-colored wooden bowl too!
Kath recently posted..Presents Wrapped, Salad Wrapped

8 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Thanks a lot dear — the wooden bowl is from Home Goods 🙂

9 Gayatri December 16, 2011 at 10:39 PM

This looks so good! My fav winter salads usually have lots of cous cous and veggies in them!
Gayatri recently posted..Yours Abnormally

10 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 1:37 AM

Believe it or not, I sill haven’t tried cous cous 😉

11 Heidi @ Food Doodles December 16, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Oooh, I love the idea of a warm salad. I know exactly what you mean, a cold salad isn’t always the most comforting on a cold day, but this looks delicious. Need to get some veggies in anyways so this is a great idea 🙂
Heidi @ Food Doodles recently posted..Flourless Chocolate Puddle Cookies

12 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 1:38 AM

Thanks a lot sweetie — give it a try and let me know how it tastes 🙂

13 Rebecca December 16, 2011 at 11:29 PM

wow what a great salad and beautiful pictures, I don’t know why I haven’t visited before I know I tweet with you amazing blog

14 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 1:42 AM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for your tweeting support!! 🙂

15 bhupendra December 16, 2011 at 11:42 PM

wow, yummy salad and bright pics!!
bhupendra recently posted..Tryst with Free Gift Vouchers

16 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:11 AM

Thank you so much 😀

17 chinmayie @ love food eat December 17, 2011 at 1:24 AM

WOW! What a beautiful salad! I am not a green salad kind of person. I like them to be comforting, filling and full of flavours, especially in winter! This looks like a perfect accompaniment with a bowl of spicy soup.

18 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:15 AM

Thanks dear — Great idea for soup!

19 Hotly Spiced December 17, 2011 at 1:51 AM

I love your styling and your photos. The acorn squash is very beautiful. I don’t think I’ve seen that kind of squash here in Australia.
Hotly Spiced recently posted..Gap Year Number Two

20 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:19 AM

Thanks a lot dear — I’ve never seen acorn squash while living in Malaysia either. I am sure this recipe would taste as delicious with different squash.

21 Glamorous Glutton December 17, 2011 at 2:55 AM

I think a warm salad at this time of year would be great. Almost like a full detox – well a small detox. It looks delicious. Your pictures are lovely. GG
Glamorous Glutton recently posted..Six Geese A Laying

22 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:21 AM

Thanks a lot sweetie — I love salads and found it difficult to incorporate it during winter. This is a perfect start 🙂

23 Angie@Angiesrecipes December 17, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Such a pretty and tasty squash salad!
Angie@Angiesrecipes recently posted..Whole Grain Bulgur Salad with Mango and Walnut

24 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:25 AM

Thanks sweetie!

25 Sanjeeta kk December 17, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Awwee..if this is what I can get on a winter night I would say “Bring it on” for every meal..simple and comforting!
Sanjeeta kk recently posted..Sugar Free Wholewheat Date Brownies – A Delightful Healthy Bake

26 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:28 AM

Thanks sweetie — I wish I could just face-plant into this salad every night in this dreary cold weather. But I would miss dhal oh so dearly 🙂

27 Asmita December 17, 2011 at 8:18 PM


28 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:28 AM


29 Nami | Just One Cookbook December 17, 2011 at 9:58 PM

What a delicious warm salad! I love the grill mark on the squash and it definitely gives nice appetizing feeling. This kind of salad is great as a main – even though I’m not vegetarian I would be very happy with this little more volume in salad.
Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Nougat Glacé Choux with Orange Caramel – Guest Post By Mad About Macarons

30 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:32 AM

Thanks sweetie — I am not a vegetarian as well, but love keeping my salad simple, crisp and refreshing.

31 Ann December 17, 2011 at 11:48 PM

Wow – that looks amazing and your pictures – as always – are stunning! You have an amazing gift for food photography and delicious, creative dishes!
Ann recently posted..Cranberry Walnut Biscotti!

32 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:38 AM

Thank you so much for the compliments — I am on cloud nine 😉

33 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 17, 2011 at 11:59 PM

You’re so right about salads in Winter but ones like this would definitely sneak into the repertoire, absolutely! 😀 And oddly, I really enjoy ice cream in winter! 😛
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Janani, Homebush

34 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 2:41 AM

I enjoy ice cream too much in winters as well 😀

35 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen December 18, 2011 at 1:03 AM

I’m good with ice cream and salads all year round. Pass me a plate!

36 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 12:28 PM

I have no doubts having ice creams all year round, too 😉

37 easyfoodsmith December 18, 2011 at 7:19 AM

Love this creative warm salad. Your great food photography has made it look even more appealing!!
easyfoodsmith recently posted..SOYA PANEER – SOY ‘COTTAGE’ CHEESE SPREAD

38 Kiran December 21, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Thanks sweetie, for the support and compliment!

39 Nava Krishnan December 18, 2011 at 8:02 AM

I go for salad from time to time Kiran, especially when I have eaten much for a couple of days continuously and that bowl of salad only for dinner at times. This is a gorgeous salad and something new for me, esp with squash added inside.
Nava Krishnan recently posted..Lemongrass Salt Fish Pickle

40 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Thanks sweetie — I can’t live without salad for a few days 😀

41 Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb December 18, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Hi Kiran!
This salad looks interessting and delicious. cranberries and cashew nuts, the whole combi makes me wanna try your recipe out. Warm salad in winter is a great idea. I dont like cold foods in a cold climate, not very tempting. your acorn squash salad is a great option of food choice. Very nutritive in the dark and cold days.

42 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Hi Helene,
Thanks a lot sweetie — your comment definitely made my day 😀

43 Carolyn Jung December 18, 2011 at 5:30 PM

I can eat salad year-round. But you’re right — in winter, you want a more substantial one. And one with lovely squash would definitely hit the spot.
Carolyn Jung recently posted..A Crust That’s Flaky In More Ways than One

44 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Thanks dear 🙂

45 Jennifer (Delicieux) December 18, 2011 at 7:06 PM

What a gorgeous salad!!! I absolutely adore pumpkin in salads, it’s one of my favourite vegetables, and those gorgeous pomegranate seeds look like jewels and make it so festive.
Jennifer (Delicieux) recently posted..Christmas Spice Cake – Festive Favourites Blog Hop

46 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Thanks sweetie — I used cranberries and not pom seeds in this recipe. But it would taste as delicious with Pom as well 😉

47 Kelly @ Inspired Edibles December 18, 2011 at 7:42 PM

This squash salad is spectacular Kiran and I just love the way you sliced your apple into long, lean pieces – visually beautiful.
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles recently posted..Baileys Chocolate Mousse

48 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Thanks sweetie 🙂

49 Alli@peasepudding December 19, 2011 at 4:36 AM

I love warm salads and particularly with roasted pumpkin/squash.

50 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Ditto with you! 🙂

51 Magic of Spice December 19, 2011 at 11:37 AM

What a glorious salad! I can do salads all year hot or cold, but warm is certainly more comforting. Love the variances in flavors here, just beautiful!
Happy Hollidays
Magic of Spice recently posted..What’s for dinner? Winter Spiced Glazed Salmon

52 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Magic of Spice,
Thanks sweetie — Happy Holidays!

53 Magic of Spice December 19, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Happy Holidays 🙂

54 Jessica @ Cajunlicious December 19, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Delicious salad Happy Holidays!

55 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for commenting 🙂

56 Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice December 19, 2011 at 11:13 PM

How enticing! I’m a huge lover of salads like these – hearty, with character. Beautiful.
Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice recently posted..Lemony Orzo with Shrimp and Herbs

57 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Thanks a lot dear 🙂

58 Harsha December 20, 2011 at 4:13 AM

The colors in this salad!.. it looks pretty enticing. And the photography too. I so loved the 2nd pic. 😀
Harsha recently posted..Seize the day

59 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Thanks a lot sweetie — you are way too kind 🙂

Happy Holidays!!!

60 Kristi Rimkus December 20, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Fantastic salad – I’m a big fan of roasted squash. It’s so versatile, yet I never thought to put it in a salad. Have a good holiday!
Kristi Rimkus recently posted..Keep It Simple – Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa and Bacon

61 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Thanks a lot dear — roasted squash are truly versatile i.e soups, salads, casseroles, baked goodies etc.. Endless!

Happy Holidays!!

62 Christy @ Confessions of a Culinary Diva December 20, 2011 at 12:38 PM

This looks like the perfect winter salad. It will definitely be making it’s way into my kitchen!

63 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Thanks dear — do try and let me know how it tastes 🙂

Happy Holidays!!!

64 Christy @ Confessions of a Culinary Diva December 22, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Hi Kiran –

I’ll send you a photo and if you want some dates sometime let me know!

Happy Holidays!

65 Kiran December 27, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Thanks for the “dates” offer — I would keep that in mind 🙂

Have a Happy New Year, sweetie 🙂

66 Melanie @ Melanie Cooks December 20, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Looks like a very tasty salad! And a warm salad is great for a cold winter 🙂
Melanie @ Melanie Cooks recently posted..Easy Homemade Marinated Mushrooms Recipe

67 Kiran December 22, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Thanks sweetie — tasty indeed 😀

68 wok with ray December 22, 2011 at 3:53 PM

I’ve never had Acorn Squash salad before but this is sure very lovely and delectable! Beautiful photography you have. 🙂
wok with ray recently posted..Polvoron

69 Kiran December 27, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for the compliments. Have a Happy New Year 🙂

70 Olga @ MangoTomato January 2, 2012 at 8:14 PM

that’s a gorgeous salad! love adding fruit to my salads…and then of course cashews are some of my most favorite nuts 😉

happy 2012!
Olga @ MangoTomato recently posted..Portobello & Leek Gratin from Everyday Food by Martha Stewart

71 sangeeta khanna January 5, 2012 at 12:48 AM

That would be a comforting warm salad any day this winter. I love grilled slices of pumpkin but never pared it with apples…spices,herbs n nuts i do a lot 🙂
sangeeta khanna recently posted..Radish pods, Mungrey, Singrey or Dingri whatever you call it…bring it to your table anyways…

72 Karen September 12, 2015 at 5:26 PM

Will try this recipe tomorrow but—-recipe says to slice the acorn squash ‘diagonally’–could you please explain how to do that?
Thank you,

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