October 05, 2011

Thanksgiving Week Day 4 - Pumpkin, Cranberry & Goat Cheese Salad

pumpkin cranberry goat cheese salad
The next component of my Thanksgiving Week recipes is the salad. This often seems to be the least exciting part of the meal, and I usually find myself skipping the salad because I don’t want to waste precious room in my stomach on boring greens when there are so many other delicious dishes to choose from. With that in mind, I wanted to choose a recipe that people would really want to make space for – both on their plates and in their stomachs! So when I came across a recipe for a pumpkin salad with maple vinaigrette in my favourite Cooking Light book (Cooking through the Seasons), I knew it would be a success.

I made quite a few changes to the recipe, drawing some inspiration from a similar Whole Living recipe, and adding in some ingredients that I thought would go well in this salad. The end result was fantastic! The roasted pumpkin, cranberries, and goat cheese all complemented each other really nicely and the addition of the maple vinaigrette just made this salad scream of Fall and Thanksgiving.

This was my first time roasting a pie pumpkin, since I usually stick to the canned stuff. If you’ve never bought one, they might also be called sugar pumpkins or sweet pumpkins, and they’re much smaller than the pumpkins you carve for Halloween. Just look for the cutest little pumpkins in the store and those should be them :) Pie pumpkins are usually cut in half then roasted whole when they’re being used for pie filling, but for this recipe you want to have cubes of pumpkin, so you’ll have to cut it up before roasting. They can be a little hard to cut through, and you’ll have to use a large sharp knife, so just be careful when you’re doing this!
It’s a little difficult to write ingredient amounts for a salad because they are so adaptable to your own taste, and I only tested an individual serving when I made this. I did my best with the amounts below, but just use your eyes as a guide and adjust any of the amounts based on what you think is appropriate. As long as you get the key ingredients in there, this is sure to be a salad that people will make room for this Thanksgiving!

And for another unique salad idea, be sure to check out the warm brussel sprouts toss recipe over at Vanilla & Spice for Day 4 of her Thanksgiving Week!

pumpkin cranberry goat cheese salad
Pumpkin, Cranberry, and Goat Cheese Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Adapted from Cooking Light and Whole Living

Serves 4-7


1 pie pumpkin (also known as a sugar pumpkin or sweet pumpkin)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 (5-6 oz) container mixed greens
1/4 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – I bought these, but you could roast your own using the seeds of the pumpkin
1/2 to 1 cup dried cranberries
~5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 450°F. Slice the pumpkin in half using a sharp knife (if it’s too difficult to cut through, try microwaving the pumpkin briefly to soften it up – just be sure to cut a few slits through the skin first to let moisture seep out). Scoop out the flesh and seeds with an ice cream scoop. Peel off the skin and cut the flesh into bite sized chunks. Toss chunks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast on a baking sheet until tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

Assemble the salad by mixing together desired amounts of mixed greens, roasted pumpkin, pepitas, cranberries, and goat cheese, then toss with desired amount of dressing.

For other Thanksgiving salad ideas, check out these links:



  1. Looks great! I'll be sharing a similar salad tomorrow.. great idea for Thanksgiving. :)

  2. yum, this salad has so many of my favourite ingredients! I'll recommend it for our actual Thanksgiving dinner this weekend!

  3. @janet @ the taste space
    I'm excited to see your salad recipe, I'm sure it'll be delicious!

  4. @Genevieve
    We should definitely make this for "real" Thanksgiving!

  5. What a salad recipe. will definitely make this for come thanksgiving :) love the photos


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