This beautiful roasted squash salad with marinated chickpeas is bursting with flavor, texture and nutrition. This is no boring salad! Serve this as a healthy main dish or holiday side salad.

A kale salad topped with squash, chickpeas, cranberries, hemp seeds and walnuts.

Why Make this Recipe

  • no boring salad – tender roasted squash, sweet and tangy cranberries, crunchy walnuts and delicious marinated chickpeas, this salad is more than a salad!
  • vegan and gluten-free – this salad is perfect for those with dietary restrictions
  • perfect for holidays – this salad would make a wonderful addition to a Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter dinner

Ingredient Notes

Squash, chickpeas, walnuts, hemp seeds, kale and herbs in containers on a counter.
  • marinated chickpea ingredients – the chickpeas are marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dried herbs
  • vinaigrette ingredients – the dressing is easy to make with pantry ingredients like balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, and dijon mustard
  • squash – I used butternut squash but acorn, delicata and kabocha also work
  • dried cranberries – if you can find them, use juice-sweetened dried cranberries…I love Patience and Co.
  • walnuts – add some crunch! use plain, raw walnuts or walnut pieces
  • hemp seeds – optional but add some texture and nutrition, sub with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1. Make the marinated chickpeas.

The chickpeas need a few hours of marinating time so you’ll have to plan in advance for that. They can be left overnight if needed. To make them, mix everything up in a sealable container and pop in the fridge.

Marinated chickpeas in a small dish.

Step 2. Roast the squash.

Next up is the squash. Peel and cube butternut squash and place on a baking tray. Add a tiny drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper and roast at 425 degrees until tender. This should take less than 30 minutes.

Roasted squash on a baking tray.

Step 3. Prepare the dressing.

To make the balsamic vinaigrette, whisk all the dressing ingredients together until fully combined. I like to make it in a sealable jar so I can just shake it all up.

Stirring balsamic vinaigrette in a small glass jar.

Step 4. Assemble the salads.

To assemble the salads, add a big handful of kale each to 4 bowls or containers then divide the roasted squash and marinated chickpeas between them. Add some walnuts, cranberries and hemp seeds to each salad, top with the dressing and enjoy!

A kale salad topped with squash, chickpeas, cranberries and walnuts.

FAQs and Expert Tips

  • Squash. The butternut squash can be substituted with acorn, delicata or kabocha squash. For ease when making acorn, delicata and kabocha, roast the squash in wedges with the peel left on. Remove the peel after baking and cube the squash.
  • Serving size. The dressing and chickpeas make enough for 4 servings. Adjust the rest of the ingredients as needed, using as much squash, kale, cranberries, walnuts and hemp seeds as you like.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes. If you’re making this for meal prep you can make the dressing, chickpeas and squash up to 3 days in advance. When you’re ready to eat the salad, prepare the kale up to 30 minutes before serving.

How should I store this salad?

If assembled in advance, store in the fridge for up to 3 days but keep the dressing separately until right before serving. If the salad is fully assembled it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days (will be fine a little longer but the kale will get soggy), store the dressing separately for best results.

A squash, cranberry, walnut and chickpea kale salad in a bowl.

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A kale salad topped with squash, chickpeas, cranberries, hemp seeds and walnuts.

Roasted Squash Salad with Marinated Chickpeas

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 salads 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

This roasted squash salad features addictive marinated chickpeas and a sweet and tangy balsamic dressing. It’s vegan, gluten-free, nutritious, satisfying and with all the different flavors and textures, it tastes incredible!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Marinated Chickpeas

  • 1 19 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes, optional, for some heat

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Salad

  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 1 cup per salad)
  • 46 cups de-stemmed and finely chopped kale (12 large handfuls per salad)
  • 8 tbsp each walnuts, hemp seeds and dried cranberries (2 tbsp per salad, use more or less as desired)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the marinated chickpeas by adding all of the chickpea ingredients to a sealable container and mixing well. Place in the fridge for at a couple hours up to overnight. The longer, the better, but in a pinch, an hour is fine.
  2. When you’re ready to prepare the salad, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  3. Peel a medium to large-sized butternut squash (enough to make about 1 cup of squash per salad), cut in half and remove the seeds, then cut into approximately 3/4-inch cubes. Place the cubed squash on a baking tray and drizzle with 1/4 tsp olive oil. and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes until tender.
  4. Make the balsamic vinaigrette by adding all of the dressing ingredients to container and whisking or shaking until completely combined.
  5. To prepare the kale for the salad, remove the leaves from the stems (discard the stems) and finely chop the kale. Drizzle the chopped kale with 1/4 tsp olive oil then massage and squeeze the kale with your hands for 1-2 minutes until softened.
  6. To assemble the salads, add a big handful of kale each to 4 bowls or containers. Divide the roasted squash and marinated chickpeas between the 4 servings. Add 2 tbsp each of the walnuts, cranberries and hemp seeds to each salad. Top each with an equal amount of the dressing.
  7. Serve right away. 

Notes

The butternut squash can be substituted with acorn, delicata or kabocha squash. For acorn, delicata and kabocha, roast in wedges with the peel left on. Remove the peel after baking and cube the squash.

Use as much or as little cranberries, walnuts and hemp seeds as you like. 2 tbsp is just a suggested amount.

Cranberries can be substituted with raisins or chopped dates. Walnuts can be substituted with pecans or slivered almonds. Hemp seeds are optional or can be substituted with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds.

You can make the dressing, chickpeas and squash up to 3 days in advance. When you’re ready to eat the salad, prepare the kale up to 30 minutes before serving. If assembled in advance, store in the fridge for up to 3 days but keep the dressing separately until right before serving. If the salad is fully assembled it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days (will be fine a little longer but the kale will get soggy), store the dressing separately for best results.

Keywords: roasted squash salad, squash chickpea salad

UDPATE NOTE: This recipe was originally published on October 23, 2017. It was updated on April 17, 2020 with new photos and text.