Roasted pumpkin and chicken salad is a healthy fall recipe that’s perfect for Thanksgiving or for a party.  This fancy holiday salad is gluten free and low carb, and can be made ahead.  Just drizzle on the tasty lemon Dijon dressing right before serving.  Your guests will be wowed with all the special fall goodies in this hearty salad.

Prep Time: 50 minutes
roasted pumpkin and chicken salad on a plate
Salad

Roasted Pumpkin and Chicken Salad

Ready to try savory roasted pumpkin in a hearty fall salad?  Our roasted pumpkin and chicken salad is full of tempting ingredients and drizzled with a homemade lemon Dijon dressing.

holding a plate of roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

What’s in roasted pumpkin and chicken salad?

  • Roasted pumpkin
  • Chicken breast seasoned with coriander and turmeric
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Red and green apples
  • Minced red onion
  • Sunflower seeds, pepitas, raisins, and pecans

How to Select a Sugar Pumpkin

  • Make sure the pumpkin is free from bruises and soft spots.  Don’t forget to check the bottom!
  • The skin should be hard enough that your fingernail doesn’t leave a mark.
  • Don’t carry the pumpkin by the stem, as this could damage it.

roasted pumpkin and chicken salad on a plate

How to Roast Pumpkin

Start by washing and drying the pumpkin.  Use a sharp kitchen knife and make slits all over for the steam to escape.

pricking a pumpkin for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Microwave on high for 5 minutes to soften the skin so it’s easier to cut.  Allow the pumpkin to cool, then cut off the stem and cut in half lengthwise.  Use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds.  Reserve them for roasting.

scooping the seeds from a pumpkin for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Brush the flesh with olive oil.

brushing the pumpkin with oil for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Sprinkle on coriander, turmeric, sea salt, and black pepper.

sprinkling the pumpkin with spices for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Roast for 35 minutes at 400 F.  Put the pumpkin flesh side down for the first half of cooking, then flip over for the last half.

roasted pumpkin for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Allow the pumpkin to cool.  Scoop out the flesh with your hands or a spoon.  Brush with softened butter, and cut into cubes if desired.

Is pumpkin healthy?

  • Pumpkin is low in calories, since it’s 94% water.
  • It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • The fiber, potassium and vitamin C in pumpkin are good for your heart.
  • It’s easy to incorporate this vegetable into your diet in both savory and sweet dishes.

How to Make Roasted Pumpkin and Chicken Salad

Start by prepping the ingredients.  Chop the chicken, apple, cheese, and onion.  Wash and dry the Romaine lettuce, then tear it into smaller pieces.

ingredients for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Melt the butter in a small skillet, then add the olive oil and chicken.  Sprinkle on the spices and cook until no longer pink inside.

chicken in a skillet for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Gather all the ingredients for the lemon Dijon vinaigrette.  Zest and juice a lemon, then mince two garlic cloves.

dressing ingredients for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Whisk all the ingredients together, except the oil, until well blended, then add the oil.

whisking the dressing for roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

When ready to serve, drizzle on the lemon Dijon vinaigrette and enjoy!

pouring dressing on roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

How to Make a Composed Fall Salad

  • Line the salad platter with Romaine lettuce.
  • Place the chicken and pumpkin in stripes on the middle of the platter.
  • Balance out the color by placing the red apple on one side and the green apple on the other.
  • Mix together the sunflower seeds, pepitas, raisins, and pecans.  Put a strip of the nut/seed mixture beside the apples.
  • For additional color, add a strip of minced red onion on each end of the salad platter and down the center, separating the chicken from the pumpkin.
  • To finish it off, add two rows of cubed smoked Gouda on either side of the apples.

forkful of roasted pumpkin and chicken salad

Pro Tips

  1. Make this a tossed salad by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.  Add enough lemon Dijon vinaigrette to nicely coat each ingredient.
  2. Make this a layered salad by layering the ingredients in a glass trifle bowl.  Place the cheese and nut/seed mixture on top.
  3. Looking for a different fruit?  Try yellow and red pears.
  4. Looking for a different squash? Try butternut or acorn.
  5. Want the nuts toasted?  Toast them in a dry pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes.
  6. Want to make this vegetarian?  Omit the chicken and add wild rice or quinoa.

Roasted pumpkin and chicken salad can be a meal by itself.  It’s also wonderful for a fall get together, as the tossed salad version can feed a crowd.  Try it tonight.  Your heart and your taste buds will thank you.

Bring lots of color and crunch to the table with these other fall salads.

bowl of roasted sweet potato, wild rice, and apple salad holding a bowl of brussels sprouts salad bowl of arugula salad with andouille sausage

Did you make this roasted pumpkin and chicken salad?  Please leave a recipe rating below to share how you enjoyed it.

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roasted pumpkin and chicken salad on a plate

Roasted Pumpkin and Chicken Salad


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 11 cups
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Roasted pumpkin and chicken salad is a healthy fall recipe that’s perfect for Thanksgiving or for a party.  This fancy holiday salad is gluten free and low carb, and can be made ahead.  Just drizzle on the tasty lemon Dijon dressing right before serving.  Your guests will be wowed with all the special fall goodies in this hearty salad.


Ingredients

For the Roasted Pumpkin

  • 1 small sugar pumpkin, 2 1/2 cups cooked (483g)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened (14g)

For the Chicken

  • 1 extra large boneless skinless chicken breast (300g)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (14g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (59 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (30 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (30 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (15 ml)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (78 ml)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Salad

  • 6 cups romaine hearts, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 Gala apple, cubed
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds, shelled
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Instructions

Roasting the Pumpkin

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Wash and dry the pumpkin.  Make slits with a sharp knife all over the pumpkin for steam to escape.
  3. Place on a plate (stem side up) and microwave on high for 5 minutes.  This will soften the outer skin to make cutting easier.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Cut the stem off, then cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp.  Keep seeds for roasting.
  5. Place on a foil lined baking tray, flesh side up.  Brush the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with coriander, turmeric, sea salt, and black pepper.  Place flesh side down and roast for 35 minutes.  Half way through, turn the halves over with tongs so the flesh side is up.  The pumpkin is done when it can be easily pierced with a fork.
  6. Once the pumpkin has cooled, carefully scoop out the cooked flesh from the hard outer skin.  Brush the pumpkin flesh with butter to add flavor, then cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

Cooking the Chicken

  1. Wash, pat dry, and cube the chicken breast.
  2. Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and chicken, then sprinkle with coriander, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper.  (The turmeric will turn the chicken a yellowish color.)  Cook until no longer pink inside, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Place the chicken in a bowl along with the juices.

Making the Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette:

  1. Whisk the first five dressing ingredients together, then slowly add the olive oil.  Sprinkle in some sea salt and black pepper, then adjust seasonings to taste.  Pour in a mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assembling the Salad

  1. Wash and dry the apples, then cut them in cubes, leaving the skin on for color.  Toss the apple cubes with two teaspoons of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.  (If you’re doing a composed salad, keep the two kinds of apples separate.)
  2. For a composed salad, cover the serving platter with a layer of lettuce.  Mix the sunflower seeds, pepitas, raisins, and pecans together in a bowl.  Arrange the salad ingredients in stripes, starting in the middle and working out to the ends.  If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.  When ready to serve, set the salad dressing out for guests or family members to pour on their own individual servings.
  3. If you want a mixed salad, carefully toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then add enough salad dressing to lightly coat.  Garnish with cheese, raisins, and pecans and sprinkle on top.  Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Feel free to make this salad ahead of time.  For the freshest taste, keep the ingredients separate until you’re ready to serve.
  • Want to make this vegetarian?  Omit the chicken and add wild rice or quinoa.

Keywords: pumpkin, fall salad

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