Easy to make, colorful and flavorful, this butternut squash wild rice salad is such a bright and delicious choice for a potluck, on a Holiday table or in your lunch box!
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One of the things I love about this time of year is lots of roasted vegetables, particularly roots. One of our favorite meals in colder months is a roasted chicken with a range of roasted vegetables like carrots, squash (like maple roasted buttercup squash), beets and parsnips.
That said, they can seem either a bit heavy or get same-y if you have them too often. This wild rice salad is a great way to enjoy seasonal fall flavors in a bit of a lighter way.
The combination of soft, gently sweet butternut squash, nutty wild rice, crunchy fresh fennel and sweet dried cranberries works really well, especially rounded off with the light orange dressing.
I’ve combined squash and wild rice before in my acorn squash wild rice salad, but this is a little lighter and has slightly sweeter flavors between the butternut squash, cranberries and orange dressing.
How to make this butternut squash wild rice salad
- Peel and dice the squash, toss in oil and roast.
- Cook the wild rice until just cooked then allow to cool.
- Finely dice the fennel and add to the rice along with the squash, cranberries and sunflower seeds.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients, to over the salad, mix through and serve.
This salad might look like it has a few steps, but you can make it easier by making ahead.
Make ahead tips
You can easily roast the squash while you are cooking other things, and put the rice on to cook as well. Allow them to cool then refrigerate both – they will keep for a day or two before you need them.
Alternatively, make up the salad and refrigerate it once made. Since there’s nothing in there that wilts, it’s ideal to make ahead and take either to a potluck or pack for lunch (and if you need more ideas, try some of these make ahead salads).
This butternut squash wild rice salad with cranberries and fennel is a delicious, light but filling taste of fall that has so many uses. Lots of great flavors and textures, it’s a healthy lunch or side you’ll love.
Try these other fall salads:
Butternut squash wild rice salad with cranberries and fennel
A tasty mix of textures and flavors, this salad is not too heavy but satisfyingly filling. A true taste of fall.
Services: 2 as lunch, more as side
For the salad
- 10 oz butternut squash 285g, peeled and deseeded weight
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup wild rice 85g
- ¾ cup fennell 90g, diced
- ½ cup dried cranberries 80g
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds 40g, pepitas
For the dressing room
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ clove garlic
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Dice the squash approx 1in/2.5cm and toss with the oil in a roasting dish. Roast for approx 40 mins then allow to cool.
As the squash is cooking, cook the wild rice according to packet instructions but on the less-done side (I found covered with 1 ¼ cups water, brought to boil and simmered approx 40 mins). Drain any excess water and allow to cool. Both the squash and rice can be cooked ahead and allowed to cool and kept refrigerated for a day or two before making up salad.
Finely dice the fennel and add to the rice along with the squash, cranberries and sunflower seeds.
Mix together the dressing ingredients (either whisk or shake in a small jar) and pour over the salad. Toss gently and serve or pack into containers to transport – works well taken for a potluck or in lunch box.
calories: 525calories | Carbohydrates: 83g | protein: 11g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 974mg | fiber: 9g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 15175UI | Vitamin C: 49.2mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 3.1mg
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.
See more cranberry ideas:
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