Roasted Pumpkin Salad

A memorable grain salad with sweet pumpkin that doubles as a main course.

A memorable grain salad with sweet pumpkin that doubles as a main course.

Makes 4 servings.


  • 3 cups 1-inch cubes of peeled pumpkin or other winter squash
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine-grain sea salt
  • 12 tiny red onions or shallots, peeled, or 3 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice


  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Warm water
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss the pumpkin or squash in a generous splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt, and turn onto a baking sheet. Toss the onions with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and turn onto a separate baking sheet. Roast both for about 45 minutes, or until both the squash and the onions are deeply colored and caramelized and the onions are soft. (You’ll need to flip the squash and onion pieces once or twice during roasting.)

2. In the meantime, make the dressing. Use a hand blender or food processor to purée the sunflower seeds, 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and honey until creamy. (You may need to add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the dressing a bit.) Stir in the cilantro, saving a bit to garnish the final plate later. Taste, and adjust seasonings (or flavors) to your liking.

3. In a large bowl, toss the wild rice with a large dollop of the dressing. Add the onions, and gently toss once or twice. Turn the rice and onions onto a platter and top with the roasted squash. (You can very gently toss the mixture with your hands to mix the pumpkin with the rice and onions.) Finish with another drizzle of dressing and any remaining chopped cilantro.

Wild Rice: Rinse 1 1/2 cups wild rice. In a medium saucepan, bring rice and 4 1/2 cups salted water to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until rice is tender and splitting open. Drain any excess water.

More: Learn more ways to use winter squash in Winter’s Bounty.

Recipe printed with permission from Heidi Swanson,