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If Shakespeare were a cookbook author, Roasted Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad would have been his masterwork. This recipe is head-over-heels, makes you act like a fool, write a sonnet about it, autumn romance.

A plate of maple roasted butternut squash and freekeh salad with kale and a fork

I realize I often blab on about my love for certain foods (like this, Italian Farro Salad), and it is because I truly cherish every recipe I post here—I wouldn’t waste either of our time by sharing a recipe with which I wasn’t smitten.

Today’s recipe for roasted butternut squash freekeh salad, however, feels especially personal, perhaps because I honestly feel like I could eat some version of it every single day for the rest of my life.

It has everything I’m looking for in a well-balanced, all-in-one lunch, and it would make a smash-hit side for dinner too

(It pairs especially well with any of these Healthy Thanksgiving Sides).

Roasted Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad on a plate with a fork

5 Star Review

“This is my new favorite recipe. I absolutely love and crave this salad!”

— Lauren —

Our salad sonnet begins with an ingredient I anticipate every fall (and might love even more than Sautéed Brussels Sprouts): butternut squash.

  • It’s easy to cook.
  • Sweet and buttery in flavor.
  • Endlessly versatile.
  • And just generally makes the world a better place to eat.

When combined with tender freekeh, sweet cranberries, crunchy walnuts, and superfood kale, it’s an irresistible grain-based salad (like this Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing) that only gets MORE delicious with a drizzle of homemade maple Dijon vinaigrette.

Roasted Butternut Squash on a sheet pan

How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad

This glorious whole grain salad featuring butternut squash is cozy, hearty, and tastes like retreating inside for comfort on a crisp fall day.

Tip!

To roast a medley of vegetables, and for more tips and seasoning suggestions, check out my ultimate guide to Oven Roasted Vegetables.


The Ingredients

  • Butternut Squash. I roasted it in a blend of olive oil and maple syrup, which turned out to be such a good combination. (This Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Parmesan is another awesome combo.)
  • Kale. Is kale out of style yet? If yes, I’ll keep rocking it with the same confidence with which I listen to late ‘90s music and quote old episodes Friends.
Kale being wilted in a saute pan with a wooden spoon
  • Freekeh. I’m an ardent believer in using whole grains wherever possible because they are much higher in fiber and protein than their processed counterparts.

About Freekeh

I am a newcomer to Freekeh, and now I’m hooked on its lovely texture and lightly smoky flavor—it’s the perfect grain to pair with roasted butternut squash.

Freekeh (or farik) is an ancient grain cereal food made from green durum wheat. It hails from North Africa and is popular in eastern Mediterranean cuisine.

If you prefer, you can use another nutty whole grain, such as farro, in its place.

  • Walnuts. Provide crunch to contrast the tender freekeh and squash.
A bowl of freekeh with walnuts and raisins on the side
  • Cranberries. Add tartness and sweetness.
  • Maple Dijon Dressing. It’s a little bit of fall packed into a jar: classic maple syrup, zippy Dijon mustard, and a touch of orange juice for brightness.
Homemade Maple Dijon Vinaigrette in a mason jar

The Directions

  1. Roast the squash until tender.
  2. Cook the freekeh. Set aside.
  3. Saute the kale until wilted and then stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper.
  4. Make the dressing. I like to shake all of the ingredients together in a mason jar.
  5. Assemble the salad by tossing the ingredients together with the dressing. ENJOY!
Tossing freekeh, kale, roasted squash, and cranberries together in a saute pan

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Leftover Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad with Kale can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.
  • To Freeze: Freezing the leftovers of this freekeh salad is definitely possible. Note that the vegetables may lose some texture. For best results, I recommend omitting the dressing and cranberries on portions that will be frozen. Add them once defrosted and ready to serve.
Roasted Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad on a plate with cranberries and walnuts

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Freekeh Gluten Free?

No. Since freekeh is derived from wheat, it is not considered gluten free. If you’d like to make a gluten free variation of this vegan freekeh salad, try swapping for cooked quinoa that has been processed in a gluten free certified facility.

This gluten free Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is another alternative.

Can Sweet Potatoes Be Used Instead of Butternut Squash?

Yes! If you don’t enjoy butternut squash, or simply don’t have any on hand, sweet potatoes make a great substitution for butternut squash. In this recipe, swap for an equal amount and roast just as you would the squash.

Is Freekeh Healthy?

Yes! If you’re unfamiliar with freekeh, it is an ancient grain that’s packed with fiber and protein. In fact, it contains double the amount of protein found in an equal serving of quinoa and TRIPLE the amount found in an equal serving of brown rice.

Roasted Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad

5 from 15 votes
This roasted butternut squash freekeh salad is a delicious combination of fall squash, ancient grains, and tender kale. Easy. Healthy. Vegan.

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

For the Butternut Squash:

For the Kale and Freekeh:

For the Maple Dijon Dressing and Serving:


Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan, drizzle olive oil and maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender.
  • Bring 2 1/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add freekeh, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium, then add the kale. Cook and stir until wilted, about 5 minutes. If all of the kale will not fit in your sauté pan, add it slowly as it cooks down. Stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper and cook 1 additional minute.
  • Next, make the dressing. Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, orange juice, Dijon, salt, and pepper until combined. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil and continue stirring until well incorporated. (Alternatively, you can shake all of the ingredients together in a mason jar.)
  • Finally, assemble the salad. Stir the freekeh, butternut squash, cranberries, and walnuts into the skillet with the kale. Pour enough of the dressing to nicely moisten the mixture over the top, toss gently to coat. Transfer to serving plates and drizzle a little more dressing over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Leftover Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad with Kale can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.
  • TO FREEZE: Freezing the leftovers of this freekeh salad is definitely possible. Note that the vegetables may lose some texture. For best results, I recommend omitting the dressing and cranberries on portions that will be frozen. Add them once defrosted and ready to serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 789kcalCarbohydrates: 82gProtein: 18gFat: 50gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gMonounsaturated Fat: 29gPotassium: 1436mgFiber: 10gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 33363IUVitamin C: 201mgCalcium: 351mgIron: 5mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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84 Comments

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  1. Erin,
    haha love your opening for this one .. and I totally see why too. This roasted butternut squash freekeh salad looks so good!! Beautiful photos! and I love trying new grains. . Sorghum is one of my faves. I’m totally going to look for freekeh the next time I’m at the store. Love this!

    1. I love sorghum too Alice!! Thanks so much, and definitely get Freekeh a try if you have a chance. If you like sorghum, I think you would love it!

  2. I love salads with a twist. I find changing up the ingredients with the season and adding in interesting ingredients to keep it interesting. This looks delicious!

  3. I’ve never even heard of Freekeh! Now I’d love to give it a try. This dish looks like the perfect lunch on a cold day!

  4. What a gorgeous salad. I have some unused freekeh in my pantry and I need to put it to work.

  5. I don’t care how out of style it goes some day, my love affair with kale is here to stay. And a big thumbs up for using whole grains (bonus points for the fun name!). This salad looks delicious!

  6. Omg girl this salad looks amazing! I love every component but that dressing is on another level!

  7. I totally would have read that sonnet lol! This salad absolutely sounds fantastic, and since I’m on this huge ‘fall flavor and themed everything’ this salad is calling my name!

  8. This looks amazing Erin! I can never get enough of kale no matter who says it’s out of style and especially with roasted butternut squash – so perfect:) I finally tried freekeh for the first time a few months ago and loved it so can’t wait to make this salad with that glorious maple dressing.

  9. I just love kale, and I sincerely hope it never goes out of style. But if it does, I’m right there with you. I’ll be eating even when it isn’t trendy. PS: This salad looks delicious!

  10. Can’t wait to try it, but I, too, have never heard of Freekah. I tried to find it on iHerb since I live in Ireland and their shipping is only $4.00 but they don’t carry it. Where else can I find it in Europe? Any ideas? Or is there another product that I could use? Thank you!

    1. Hi, I’m not sure about availability in Europe, but this recipe would taste great with any hearty whole grain you love. Farro or bulgur, for example, would both be lovely!

  11. Let’s all get our freekeh on and – YES PUHLEEEZ I will have seconds of that Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad!!! I adore butternut squash too – this is so so colorful and texture filled!

  12. i absolutely looooove a butternut squash salad – at this time of the year it’s so nice to be eating something which feels autumnal and appropriate but also isn’t too heavy! and the combination of butternut and cranberries is something sacred, i swear. great post :)

    the hobbit kitchen x

  13. Maybe I have problems letting go, but no way, kale is not out of style! I haven’t had freekeh before, but am always looking for new healthy lunch options. I’m going to pick some up next time I’m at Whole Foods. I also may just make that maple roasted butternut squash until then…

  14. I’ve never heard of this grain before, going to have too give this a try. If I were to take the salad for lunch, do you think it would be best to keep the dressing separate and mix right before eating?

    1. Great question Andria! You are fine to place the dressing on beforehand. That will give the grains lots of time to drink up all that yummy flavor :-)

  15. I love everything about this salad! It just screams fall and is so rich in fall colors. Gah! I can’t wait to give it a try.

  16. Yep! I reckon Shakespear would’ve called this one of his masterpieces too. Love Kale & roasted pumpkin…. those 2 ingredients are a match made in heaven.

  17. This does look absolutely delicious!
    Love how you described it, and by the pictures it does indeed deserve a sonnet!!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  18. Oh my gosh…I am in love with this salad and I’m totally making it this week. I’ve never tried Freekah but I’m game!

  19. Roasted butternut squash really is one of the best things ever! I make a similar salad with quinoa, but have never tried freekeh before, I love the name though! i love everything about this salad and see it in my near future :)

  20. Oh my word! I love Kale and this butternut squash addition makes it the perfect meal! Can’t wait to buy the ingredients and make this!!!

  21. Love everything about this! The squash, the maple dijon, the kale, the colors! Pinned – so pretty!

  22. Made it! It’s a hit at casa McClure! Even Kieran loved the freekeh! It’s so savory and filling without making you feel too full. Can you find someone to make an app or page to your site where I can type in ingredients I already have and it searches your recipes for one(s) that I can make using what I’ve got?! I’m sure something like that already exists on other sites, but I trust YOUR recipes will taste good :)

    1. Natalie this comment totally makes my day, thank you! Kieran’s is the highest level of approval I could ask for :-) To search for other recipes, you can use the search bar on the right towards the top of any of the pages of my blog. Also, if you look towards the bottom of each post, I try to tag it with the main ingredients. Sometimes I miss a few, but that should at least get you started. Thanks so much for trying this and letting me know how it turned out!

  23. Hi Erin,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. It was so delicious. My husband even went for seconds then put the steak away that he was planning on eating. Let me tell you, a vegetarian dinner does not usually satisfy his appetite, so I am psyched! I’ve already made it twice this week and I am planning on making it again next week. I brought it to Thanksgiving and it was a hit. Thanks again.5 stars

    1. Hi Marissa! I’m so, so happy to hear this! Makes my day :-) All the best to you and your husband. I hope you guys had a very happy Thanksgiving!

  24. I doubled this salad yesterday for Christmas dinner and the entire family enjoyed it. We left out the freekah because we had a rice side dish but the combination is amazing without it! The maple really adds the perfect touch of sweetness and i didn’t even end up using all of the dressing mixture I had made because the flavors were so perfect without adding too much! Thanks for sharing- would recommend to anyone!5 stars

    1. Hi Julia! I’m so happy that you and your family enjoyed this dish, and I’m honored that it was a party of your Christmas dinner. Thanks so much for taking time to let me know how it turned out, and wishing you a Merry Christmas (belated) and Happy New Year!

    1. I’m so excited to hear that Paige! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out. Enjoy!

  25. Fabulous meal! I used what I had on hand (farro for the freekah, white raisins for the cranberrries, and pecans for the walnuts) and it is wonderful. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Davene, I am SO excited to hear this! Thank you so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out for you!

  26. This is my new favorite recipe.  I absolutely love and crave this salad!  Can’t wait to try your other recipes! 
    Thanks! 5 stars

    1. Lauren, this makes me so happy to hear! Thanks for letting me know, and I hope you love the other recipes you try as well.

  27. Saw this recipe earlier today and fell in love with it before I even cooked it!! All the flavours work so well together, it is going to be my salad if the summer. There is no question, this is a winner..!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Sunshine! It was one of my absolute favorite recipes all through the fall and winter here, and I hope you love it as much as I do!

  28. I am a little late to the party but super excited to try this dish! I have every ingredient on hand except butternut squash (a big part of the dish;). I do have organic sweet potatoes, is that a substitute you would recommend? Really want to try it soon without going to the store…

    1. Hi Joan! Yes, freezing the leftovers is definitely possible. The vegetables may lose some texture, but it should still be fine! If you happen to be making it and know that you’ll be setting some aside for freezing, I’d suggest leaving out the dressing and cranberries and then adding them after you’ve defrosted the salad and are ready to eat the leftovers. But if everything is already mixed, that should still work too!

  29. I am so happy I found your website! This recipe lived up to my expectations based on your Shakespeare analogy, and I too, would eat this salad every day happily. I made it for thanksgiving and the whole family loved it!5 stars

    1. Hooray, Michelle! I’m so glad this recipe was a Thanksgiving hit for you. Thank you so much for reading and trying the recipe…and for leaving this kind review!

  30. This was delicious! An excellent recipe and a big winner the missus :) I blanched my kale in boiling salt water and kinda just mixed through the garlic, pepper, salt, nutmeg, chili after a quick fry, and also didn’t have maple syrup so I used honey. Still really really good. Thanks!5 stars

    1. Hi Marc, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this great review!

  31. Yum! This is great! The dressing transforms the ingredients. I made three servings with kale and one without for my kale-weary husband. He pronounced it “addictive.”  A wonderful, make-ahead work lunch.5 stars

  32. I made this recipe to take to work for my lunch. It was delicious, great combination of flavours and textures. I couldn’t find Freekeh, so used some couscous that I had in the cupboard. I’d definitely make it again. 5 stars

    1. YAY Lara, thank you for taking the time to leave this awesome review! I’m so glad you enjoyed the salad!

  33. Last week I made your freekeh salad. I used spinach instead of kale. It was delicious. I’ve posted the recipe on my blog with a reverence to your site (I hope you don’t mind).5 stars

    1. Hi Pieta, I’m so glad you enjoyed this salad! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review!

  34. I am going to try this recipe for Thanksgiving. Just wondering, can it be made in advance (say, the day before) to be served the following day? Does it taste just as good reheated or is it best to make it the day of? It looks really good but quite a bit of prepping.

    1. Hi Mara, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days, so I think making it the day before would be fine! I hope you enjoy!

  35. Hi Erin, I made this to have with barbecued pork ribs on this hot Australian summer day. The only change I made was using sweet potato instead of butternut pumpkin, knowing it would go well with pork. Everything else was as the recipe was written. Just want to say, we loved it! The dressing was a winner, but everything worked so well together. This is a definite keeper, another grain salad to add to my increasing repertoire . Thanks so much.5 stars

  36. I found this recipe when googling recipes using freekeh, I knew I enjoyed it and wanted to try it in different ways. This was right up my alley, I adore kale and my husband has been bugging me to make butternut squash for weeks. This is absolutely perfect! It’s delicious, I love how it is savoury,  but has that subtle sweetness to it. I think some feta would be awesome in this too! Thanks for this recipe!5 stars

  37. Hi – I am so excited about this recipe. I just found out about Freekah and was looking for recipes. I learned about this amazing grain because I get email from Equal Exchange, a fair trade organization that I love. I learned about them because my food co-op sells many of their goods which are sourced from small farmers around the world. This holiday season they had a package called the Palestinian Farmer’s box – I was attracted by the Medjool dates and was curious about the grains- which I don’t eat much of as a rule. The amazing toasted Freekah which I’ve just tried with your recipe is outstanding. I have nothing but warmth for Bob’s Red Mill but I hope you and others who see this check out Equal Exchange on line. It’s a great cause. In addition – I’m always in a panic in the kitchen and your recipe was very logical and worked so well. I did use chard instead of kale (which I will definitely try in the future) and used a little less oil in the dressing and cooking but otherwise followed your directions and it is SO YUMMY! Thanks so much. Hope you don’t mind my promoting Equal Exchange- my only connection with them is my belief in them and their mission. Thanks again!5 stars

    1. Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review, Maryanne! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe!

  38. Everyone loves this!!! Soo good. It’s kind of a lot of work the first time but so good it’s worth it. The dressing makes it!5 stars

  39. This looks wonderful! If I were to be making it for a meatless dinner, is there something you would suggest having with it or do you think it is filling enough on its own?

    1. Hi Denise! A nice piece of salmon would go great on the side of this salad! Here is a list of them for you to look through, https://www.wellplated.com/tag/salmon/ Hope this helps!