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Looking for an easy and delicious camping meal with some fresh veggies? This grilled butternut squash cranberry spinach salad is perfect! Grilled butternut squash is absolutely delicious and it really makes this salad hearty and filling. It even has the approval of non-salad-loving campers.
I made this salad on a recent camping trip with Nick and his brother. Neither of them really likes veggies, but they absolutely devoured this salad. So without further ado, let’s dive into this camping recipe!
- butternut squash – Butternut squash is delicious, especially when grilled. It makes this salad really satisfying.
- dried cranberries – The dried cranberries add a wonderfully sweet and chewy element to the salad. I always buy the 50% less sugar variety and find them to be perfect.
- pecans – I use raw roughly chopped pecans, but you can easily swap in roasted pecans, candied pecans, or even walnuts.
- spinach and arugula blend – I usually buy 1 container or bag that has a blend of spinach and arugula. You can use any variety of greens you’d like, but the spinach and arugula blend is my favorite.
- goat cheese – I use simple plain goat cheese in this recipe.
- salad dressing – we make an easy dressing recipe at home before the trip. I store it in the cooler. You’ll have to hold it in your hand or pocket to bring the olive oil back to room temp. I usually have a fellow camper do this while I assemble the salad.
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How to Grill Butternut Squash
Grilling butternut squash is actually very easy. It holds its shape well while cooking making it easy to flip the pieces.
The skin on a butternut squash is edible, so you can leave it on or peel it before slicing and cooking. I happen to love it, so I usually leave it on.
- Carefully cut the butternut squash in half vertically and horizontally to create 4 pieces.
- Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and goop from the center, then place the pieces cut side down so they don’t move while you slice them.
- Slice the squash 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
- Coat the slices in oil, salt, and pepper and place them on the grill.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side until the squash is tender but not super mushy.
- Remove the squash from the heat and let it cool completely before adding it to the salad.
Note: For this recipe, I use about 1/2 of a small butternut squash.
Grilled Butternut Squash Cranberry Spinach Salad
For the Salad:
- 1/2 small butternut squash
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup pecans chopped
- 5 oz package of spinach and arugula blend or any mixed greens
- 2-4 oz goat cheese
For the Dressing (make at home):
- 6 tbsp olive oil plus a little extra to coat the squash before cooking
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp mustard
- Mix all of the ingredients for the dressing at home and pack in the cooler.
- At camp, peel the butternut squash, if desired. The peel is edible and I happen to love it, so I like to leave some of it on.
- Cut the butternut squash in half vertically and horizontally to create 4 pieces. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds from the center then place the pieces cut side down so they don't move while you slice them. Slice the squash into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces.
- Coat the slices in oil, salt, and pepper, and place them on the grill. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side until the squash is tender but not super mushy. Once cooked, remove the squash from the heat and let it cool completely.
- In the meantime, assemble the rest of the salad. In a large bowl, combine the spinach and arugula blend, dried cranberries, pecans, and goat cheese.
- Once the squash has cooled, cut the pieces into bite-sized pieces and add them to the salad.
- Drizzle with the dressing (you might not need all of the dressing) and mix the salad together. Enjoy!
More Easy Camping Dinner Ideas
Check out some of the other easy camping recipes from the blog: