Winter Salad with Roast Pumpkin, Feta and Cranberries

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Get ready to add some zest to your winter meals with our Winter Salad with Roast Pumpkin, Feta, and Cranberries. This salad isn’t just a dish; it’s a celebration of flavors perfect for the colder months. Combining the sweet roast pumpkin with tangy cranberries and creamy feta cheese, it’s a delightful addition to any holiday meal. Whether you’re pairing it with a classic roast or enjoying it as a standalone dish, this salad is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a tasty, low-carb option. Let’s get started on this simple yet impressive recipe that’s sure to become a winter favorite.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Festive Flavors: Enjoy the sweet and savory combination perfect for winter celebrations.
  • Low-Carb: Ideal for a healthy, balanced diet without sacrificing taste.
  • Easy to Make: Simple steps, ready in 30 minutes, great for busy schedules.
  • Versatile Pairing: Complements a variety of main dishes, from roasts to baked salmon.
  • Colorful Presentation: Brightens up your table with its appealing look.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Heads up: For exact measurements, see the recipe card below.

Preparing this winter salad is a breeze, and you only need a handful of ingredients to create this festive dish. Here’s what you’ll need.

Salad

  • Pumpkin: Adds a natural sweetness and a soft texture; Hokkaido variety recommended.
  • Ghee: Used for roasting, adding flavor.
  • Feta: Brings creaminess and a slight saltiness to balance the sweetness.
  • Pecans: Adds a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
  • Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries: For a tangy flavor without the extra carbs. Here’s how to make them.
  • Soft Lettuce: Forms the fresh, leafy base of the salad.
  • Seasonings: Sea salt and pepper to enhance the natural flavors.

Dressing

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Perfect for salads.
  • Dijon Mustard: A hint of spice for the dressing.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: Adds a subtle sweetness and depth to the dressing.
Ingredients for winter salad with feta, pumpkin and cranberries.
Can I use a different type of cheese besides feta?

Yes! Soft goat’s cheese is a great alternative to feta. It offers a similar creamy texture with a milder, slightly tangy flavor that pairs beautifully with the other ingredients in the salad.

I don’t have pecans. What can I use instead?

Walnuts are a perfect swap for pecans. They bring a similar crunchy texture and a slightly different, yet equally delicious, nutty flavor to the salad.

Is there an alternative to Hokkaido pumpkin?

Definitely! Delicata squash is an excellent option. It roasts well and has a sweet, creamy flavor that complements the other salad ingredients nicely.

Isn’t balsamic vinegar high in sugar?

True, some types of balsamic vinegar, like the aged variety, are higher in sugar. But for this recipe, even aged balsamic vinegar is fine since we’re using just a small amount. Its impact on carbs is minimal, yet it adds a fantastic flavor to the salad!

How To Make Winter Salad with Cranberries

Roast the Pumpkin. Begin by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C) fan assisted, or 425°F (220°C) conventional. If you’re using Hokkaido squash, there’s no need to peel it. Otherwise, peel your pumpkin and cut it into bite-sized cubes. Arrange the pumpkin cubes in a single layer on a baking tray. Drizzle them with melted ghee or olive oil, and season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized. Once done, remove from the oven and let them cool.

Diced pumpkin in a baking tray.
Roasted pumpkin in a baking tray.

Make the Dressing. While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, Dijon or yellow mustard, and balsamic vinegar. Mix until well combined and set aside.

Assemble the Salad. Tear the soft lettuce and place it in a large salad bowl. Scatter the roasted pumpkin, crumbled feta or goat’s cheese, homemade Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries, and roughly chopped pecans or walnuts over the lettuce. If you prefer, you can dry roast the nuts in a hot pan for 1-2 minutes for extra crunch.

Assembling winter salad with roasted pumpkin.

Dress and Serve. Finally, drizzle your prepared dressing over the salad. Toss gently to coat everything evenly. This vibrant salad is best served fresh but can be refrigerated for up to a day. It makes four delightful side servings or two main servings.

Winter Salad with Roast Pumpkin, Feta and Cranberries Recipe.

Tips for Best Winter Salad with Cranberries

  • Roasting Pumpkin: Roast until it’s just tender, not mushy. This ensures a perfect texture that complements the softer elements of the salad.
  • Balancing Flavors: Adjust the amount of balsamic vinegar and mustard in the dressing to suit your taste. A little goes a long way in adding depth to the salad. The taste will be different with regular vs aged balsamic vinegar, which is sweeter and less sour.
  • Cheese Choices: Both feta and goat’s cheese work well. Feta adds a sharper, saltier taste, while goat’s cheese is milder and creamier.
  • Nut Options: Toasting pecans or walnuts before adding enhances flavor and crunch.
  • Arugula Option: For a peppery twist, mix in arugula. It pairs especially well with goat’s cheese.

Storage Instructions

How long can I keep this salad in the fridge?

You can store this salad in the fridge for up to a day. It’s best to keep the dressing separate and add it just before serving to maintain the freshness of the lettuce and other ingredients. It’s not recommended to freeze this salad.

Can I prepare the components of this salad in advance?

Yes, you can! Roast the pumpkin and prepare the dressing ahead of time. Store them in separate containers in the fridge. Assemble the salad with fresh lettuce, cheese, nuts, and cranberries when ready to serve.

How to Serve Winter Salad with Cranberries

This versatile salad is a fantastic addition to a variety of meals:

  • With Roasts: The salad’s vibrant flavors complement the richness of roast turkey, chicken, pork, or beef, making it an ideal side for holiday feasts or family dinners.
  • Alongside Fish: Pair it with baked salmon or grilled fish for a lighter, yet satisfying meal.
  • As a Standalone Dish: Enjoy it on its own for a light, nutritious lunch or dinner, for a complete and satisfying vegetarian meal.
Winter Salad with Roast Pumpkin, Feta and Cranberries Recipe.

Winter Salad with Pumpkin, Feta and Cranberries

5 stars from 2 votes
Enjoy a colorful and tasty side dish with our Winter Salad featuring roast pumpkin, cranberries, and feta. It's a simple, low-carb option that pairs well with any main dish, adding a festive touch to your winter meals.
Servings4
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients
 
 

Salad

  • ¼ cup Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries (homemade)
  • 7 oz pumpkin such as Hokkaido (cubed)
  • 1 tbsp melted ghee (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • sea salt and pepper (to taste)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta (or soft goat's cheese)
  • ¼ cup crumbled pecans (or walnuts)
  • 1 head soft lettuce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 °F (200 °C), or 425 °F (220 °C). Peel and cube the pumpkin, place on a baking tray, drizzle with ghee or olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for about 20 minutes. Let cool.
  • For the dressing, whisk together olive oil, mustard, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Tear lettuce into a salad bowl. Add cooled pumpkin, crumbled feta, cranberries, and chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Serve fresh, pairing with your favorite roast or as a standalone dish.

Nutrition

Calories: 257kcalNet Carbs: 6.7gCarbohydrates: 8.8gProtein: 4.6gFat: 23.6gSaturated Fat: 7.5gSodium: 233mgMagnesium: 26mgPotassium: 322mgFiber: 2.1gSugar: 3.6g

Notes

  • Serving Size: About 5 oz (140 g).
  • Cheese Choice: Feta for a salty kick, goat’s cheese for creaminess.
  • Crunchy Nuts: Toast them for extra crunch.
  • Greens: Add arugula for a peppery flavor, especially great with goat’s cheese.
  • Storage: Best enjoyed fresh. If needed, store components separately in the fridge and assemble before serving.

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