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+ servings
Overhead shot of a bowl of colorful orzo salad

Fall Orzo Salad

This hearty, beautiful, Fall Orzo Salad showcases all the best parts of autumn! We've got whole wheat orzo, maple roasted butternut squash, hearty kale, feta, dried cherries, toasted almonds and pepitas, parsley, shallots, scallions, and a maple dijon apple cider vinaigrette. It's filled with loads of texture and flavor, and the best part is, it can be made ahead of time, making it the perfect addition to any holiday table or prep-ahead lunch!

Course Lunch, Salad, Side
Keyword autumn orzo salad, butternut squash orzo salad, fall orzo salad, fall salad, holiday orzo salad, holiday salad, orzo salad recipe, winter orzo salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Author Molly | Spices in My DNA


For the salad:

  • 1 1/2 cups orzo (whole wheat or regular)
  • 3 cups cubed butternunt squash
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3-4 cups de-stemmed and shredded lacinato kale or greens of your choice*
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, very thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta*
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

For the apple cider maple dijon vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400℉. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Add the butternut squash and toss with cinnamon, nutmeg, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and golden, tossing once during cooking.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the orzo. Cook according to package directions, or until al dente. Drain, drizzle with a little olive oil, stir, and set aside to let cool completely.

  3. While orzo is cooking, make the vinaigrette. In a medium jar, combine the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Shake until combined and emulsified. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Alternatively, you can make this in a food processor and blend until smooth. Or, if you're short on time, just whisk it up in a bowl!

  4. Toast the almonds and pepitas. In a small, dry skillet, add the sliced almonds and pepitas over medium-low heat until golden. You’ll notice the pepitas will start to “pop”. Stir frequently, watching very closely as they can burn quickly.

  5. Once orzo has cooled, add to a large bowl. Add the baby kale, scallions, shallot, feta, toasted almonds and pepitas, dried cherries, and flat-leaf parsley. Stir to combine. Add the butternut squash, desired amount of vinaigrette, and a few good pinches of salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and stir gently to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve with extra vinaigrette.

Recipe Notes

*I like to use a mixture of lacinato/dino kale and a handful of hearty spring greens, but you can use whatever you like. Curly kale, arugula, and spinach would all work!
*I like to buy feta in block form, and crumble it myself. It's so much better!
*This salad can be made several hours ahead of time and kept in the fridge. It also keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge for easy lunches!