Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad is a perfect cozy dinner or side dish. This meatless meal is packed with fall flavors, lots of vegetables, and can be eaten warm or cold! 

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Why You’ll Love This Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Butternut squash is my favorite of all the fall squashes. It is so versatile, can be used in sweet and savory recipes, and has so many health benefits. It can be pureed into a pasta sauce, roasted alongside other veggies, put in a risotto, used in salads, put in soups and chilis, and so much more!

For this recipe, we are pairing it with pasta, dried cranberries, goat cheese, baby kale, and pecans for the most PERFECT fall flavor combination. Then we toss it in a simple red wine vinaigrette that gives it so much bright flavor that compliments the sweetness.

This dish is so quick and easy to throw together, and will definitely feed a crowd. It can be eaten as the main course for a meatless meal, but also as a side dish if you want to pair it with something like grilled chicken for more protein.

roasted butternut squash
ingredients for butternut squash pasta salad


  • PASTA – you can use any type of pasta shape you want for this, but I love something like penne or rotini to keep it easy to eat with the veggies
  • BUTTERNUT SQUASH – you will used chopped butternut squash so that it is in smaller shapes and roasts quickly
  • BABY KALE – I like using the smaller leaf version of kale for this because it has a softer texture, but you can use regular kale if you want
  • CHOPPED PECANS – pecans give the dish a little bit more texture and crunch against the soft pasta and butternut
  • DRIED CRANBERRIES – these add a perfect amount of sweetness and lots of fall flavor
  • GOAT CHEESE – you can use any type of crumbled cheese you want, but I love the tangy flavor that goat cheese gives with the sweet squash and cranberries
  • FRESH OR DRIED SAGE – sage just screams fall and Thanksgiving to me, and it adds a really nice flavor to the dish
  • RED WINE VINEGAR – you could also use balsamic if you don’t have red wine vinegar, but I like the lighter flavor of red wine for this one, it is less overpowering
  • EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL – my staple oil for all dressings and vinaigrettes
  • SALT & PEPPER – to bring out all those flavors, of course

How to Cut & Peel Butternut Squash

It can feel intimidating to cut a butternut squash because the skin is thick and the vegetable is dense. But it is easier than you think if you have a good sharp knife and some patience.

STEP 1 – Make sure you have a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board that is not going to slide around on the countertop.

STEP 2 – Lay the squash on its side and cut the top and bottom parts off so that you can stand it upright.

STEP 3 – Then cut the squash in half, right above the larger bulb part of the squash. Then you are left with two pieces, the thinner top portion, and the wider bulb at the bottom.

STEP 4 – Now stand one of the halves upright, and use your knife to carefully peel the skin in a downward motion. Repeat this all the way around, on both halves of the squash. You can also use a vegetable peeler, but make sure you have a strong and sharp peeler because the skin is pretty thick. My vegetable peeler doesn’t do a good job at this, so I use the knife.

STEP 5 – After peeling the squash, cut the bulb piece in half, and scrape out the seeds and insides with a spoon. Then lay flat and chop into 1/2 inch cubes. Do the same with the top half, just cut it in half, then lay flat and chop into 1/2 inch cubes.

What type of pasta is best for this dish?

You can use any shape of pasta you want for this, but I recommend sticking with the medium sized pastas that are a little more dense: penne, rotini, elbow macaroni, bow ties.

These shapes are perfect for a pasta salad because they are a similar shape to your vegetables and can be easily picked up with a fork. For this dish, I went with a Gluten-Free Multigrain Rotini from NOW Foods. They have a new line of pasta that is made with cauliflower, and it is DELICIOUS. It is a mix of grains like rice, quinoa, and amaranth, with cauliflower for added veggies. It has a really great earthy taste that is not overpowering to any flavors in a dish, and you don’t taste cauliflower!

The texture is perfect and holds up to the dressing and other vegetables in this dish. It is just the right amount of chew to it, and doesn’t get mushy. I would highly recommend this pasta!

You can get a 20% discount with NOW Foods if you use the code CANDACE!

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Eat it WARM or COLD!

I love a good versatile pasta dish, and not all pasta is good served cold. But this one is! It can be eaten as a warm and cozy pasta dinner, or cold as a pasta salad for an easy grab and go lunch!

Storage Tips

This pasta salad will stay fresh in the fridge if you keep it in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If you want to eat it warm, just heat it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.

Thank you to NOW Foods for sponsoring this post! I am grateful to be able to partner with such great brands to bring you the best recipes.

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad
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Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Servings 6


  • 3 cups chopped butternut squash (into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 package gluten-free rotini pasta , I used rotini from NOW Foods
  • 1 (packed) cup baby kale
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage , finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the chopped butternut squash onto a lined baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with 1/2 tsp salt. Toss to get everything evenly coated and roast for 30-35 minutes, until the squash is golden brown.
  • While the squash is in the oven, cook the pasta. Fill a large pot with water and cook according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain the pasta and put it in a large serving bowl.
  • When the squash is done roasting, transfer it to the same serving bowl as the pasta. Then add in the kale, pecans, cranberries, sage, and goat cheese. Gently toss to combine.
  • To make the vinaigrette, add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a jar with a tight fitting lid. Give it a good shake to combine. Then pour the vinaigrette over the pasta dish. Gently toss to make sure everything is coated in the vinaigrette.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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