Butternut Squash Harissa Salad

Author: Sarah Cobacho

Published: March 1, 2022

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Harissa Pumpkin Salad ready to be served in a white bowl alongside glass with healthy salad dressing.

This Butternut Squash Harissa salad is super easy to put together and absolutely bursting with flavors that will make you feel amazing! Roasted veggie salads are unmatched for mid-season, especially when the oven does most of the work. Coated in fragrant ras el hanout, the vegetables roast to perfection and beautifully complement the crispy chickpeas, slightly bitter arugula, creamy avocado, and the spicy kick of harissa dressing. Best of all, this plant-based choice is rich in a wide array of vitamins and antioxidants to really nourish your body!

Overhead view of a mixed Harissa Pumpkin Salad with chickpeas and butternut squash

Why This Recipe Works

  • Rich in Nutrients: Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber for a healthy meal. This salad, with its vibrant plants, contains a lot of different antioxidants, such as betalains from beetroots, anthocyanins from black rice, and beta-carotene from butternut squash.
  • Protein-Rich: With 24 g of protein per serving.
  • Flavorful: The ras el hanout (sometimes also called Moroccan spice mix) is delightfully fragrant, and the spicy Harissa dressing brings all the components together.
  • Easy to Make: This dish is super easy to prepare, with the oven doing most of the work to bring the flavors together.
  • Perfectly Balanced: A great mix of textures and flavors for a satisfying meal.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients for Harissa Pumpkin Salad laid out on a table with ingredient labels.
  • Butternut Squash: A great source of vitamins A and C. You can substitute with pumpkin for a similar texture and taste.
  • Chickpeas: These add both protein and fiber. Feel free to use canned for convenience, but make sure to rinse well before using to reduce sodium and oligosaccharides (a compound in beans that can make you feel bloated).
  • Black Rice: A delicious whole grain known for its antioxidant properties. Quinoa can be a fantastic substitute for a different texture and slightly higher protein content.
  • Harissa Paste: Adds a unique spicy and aromatic flavor. Adjust the amount based on your spice preference.
  • Pistachios: Provide a crunch and some monosaturated heart-healthy fats. Almonds or walnuts are also great options.
  • Ras El Hanout: A fragrant spice mix made with cardamon, cumin, turmeric, coriander, paprika, ginger, and chili.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F/180°C and lining a baking tray with paper. Layer beetroot, squash, and chickpeas on the tray and drizzle with olive oil and spices. Bake for 20-25 minutes until everything is beautifully roasted. Whisk together the Harissa dressing ingredients while your veggies cool slightly. Combine all your salad components in a large bowl, drizzle with the dressing, and serve this gorgeous, nourishing bowl of goodness.

Vegetables and chickpeas arranged on parchment paper on a baking tray ready to go into the oven for Harissa Pumpkin Salad.
Baked butternut squash, beetroot, and chickpeas on a baking sheet for salad.

Variations and Tips

  • Switch up the grains: Try quinoa or brown rice for a different texture.
  • Add more greens: Spinach, kale, or any lettuce you like can be used.
  • Protein boost: To turn this salad into a high-protein meal, swap the rice for quinoa and the chickpeas for 2 cups of cooked lentils. Black lentils would be a fantastic substitute, bringing the same antioxidant anthocyanins otherwise found in black rice.
  • Make ahead: Prepare the components in advance and assemble them before serving.
  • How to build a salad: When making a salad, I think it’s important to differentiate between a side salad and if it’s going to be a complete meal. I often see beautiful salad bowls that are only made of vegetables. While I strongly advocate for eating more veggies, achieving fullness and satisfaction also requires the inclusion of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a solid source of protein. This delicious bowl delivers it all, featuring black rice, chickpeas, avocado, pistachios, and a selection of beautiful vegetables! With 10 unique plants, it’s a great recipe to add more diversity to your day.

Why You’ll Love This Butternut Squash Harissa Salad

  • Nutritious
  • Flavorful
  • Filling
  • Colorful
  • Hearty
Hands tossing a Harissa Pumpkin Salad with arugula and avocado in a white bowl
Overhead view of a mixed Harissa Pumpkin Salad with chickpeas and butternut squash

Butternut Squash Harissa Salad

5 from 3 votes
A nourishing blend of butternut squash, chickpeas, and black rice, dressed in a spicy Harissa dressing, perfect for a satisfying meal.
Sarah Cobacho (plantbaes.com)
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


Servings 2


  • cups chickpeas (cooked)
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 2 cups butternut squash (peeled and diced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup raw beetroot (peeled and diced)
  • 1 red onion (peeled, chopped in half, each half chopped in 4)
  • 3 oz arugula
  • cup cooked black rice
  • ½ avocado (diced)
  • 2 tbsp pistachios (roughly chopped)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill (finely chopped)

Harissa Dressing

  • cup natural dairy-free yogurt (I used soy )
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 °F.
  • Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Layer the beetroot horizontally at the front of the baking tray, the butternut squash in the middle, and the chickpeas at the back. Drizzle with olive oil and ras el hanout. Use your hands to make sure everything is thoroughly coated. This specific order of layering the veggies is optional, but most ovens tend to cook a bit more at the front (closer to the glass door), so layering them this way can help get the beetroot well cooked without drying out the chickpeas as they cook a bit quicker.
  • Place the onions face down on the same baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until everything is thoroughly cooked. Allow it to cool down slightly.
  • In the meantime, prepare the Harissa Dressing by whisking the yogurt, lemon juice, harissa paste, maple syrup, and salt.
  • When ready to serve, combine the arugula, black rice, baked beetroot, pumpkin, chickpeas, and onions with the avocado, pistachios, fresh dill, and Harissa Dressing. Adjust salt to taste and enjoy!

Per Serving

Calories 690kcalCarbohydrates 109gProtein 24gFat 21gSodium 733mgFiber 25gVitamin A 1203IUVitamin C 57mgCalcium 314mgIron 8mg
KEYWORDS Nourishing, plant-based, salad, Spicy
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Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can prep all the components ahead and assemble them before serving.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, it’s naturally gluten-free, making it accessible for those with sensitivities.

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    1. Hey Lisa,
      Harissa is a chilli paste, I believe originally from Tunisia, but is found a lot in North African cuisine. It’s absolutely delicious with roasted veggies!
      Ras El Hanout, is a spice blend from Morocco. I’ve seen it labeled both as “ras el hanout” or “Moroccan spice mix” in Australia. In Sydney, it’s available at all major supermarkets. They last for a very long time and well worth having in the pantry 🙂

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