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Bitter Greens Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

By March 21, 2023June 4th, 2024AIP, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Salads, Vegan, Winter

This is a hearty yet cleansing salad, perfect lunch or dinner in winter or as we transition from winter to spring. The creamy sweet roasted butternut squash is mixed with bitter greens and topped with a tangy green goddess dressing. It’s a magnificent colorful mix of contrasting tastes and textures.

Bitter Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash platter

Spring is a natural time to incorporate more greens into the diet. Begin to move away from the heavy, grounding, nourishing stews and sweet root vegetables we have been favoring all winter long. It’s good to eat a combination of raw salad greens and lightly cooked hearty greens like spinach, Swiss chard or kale.

The foundation of this salad are bitter greens, which is balanced with sweet, roasted squash. It’s light and refreshing and at the same time hearty and satisfying. Just what we need right now when the weather is cold one day and warm the next.

Greens contain the bitter and astringent tastes which will help cleanse the body and counterbalance any congestion and heaviness within the digestive tract.

It’s nice to serve the squash warm on a cold day but it’s also good at room temperature.

The Green Goddess Dressing is creamy and bright, packed with fresh herbs. They have natural therapeutic compounds to help cleanse our body in spring.

Bitter Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash on plate

Why Eat Bitter Greens In Spring?

The bitter spring greens play an important role in preparing our bodies for warmer weather and lighter fare.

Spring greens help cleanse our digestion following a winter diet of heavy foods. They naturally cleanse our liver and digestive system getting rid of any built up mucus and congestion left over from winter.They are the perfect tool to assist with this natural detoxification process.

The bitter leaves stimulate digestion, restore proper food cravings, and cleanse the liver and the blood. They are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and powerful bioflavonoids.  Bitter foods also support the release of bile acids that support healthy metabolic activity, including healthy blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol (1).

In this Bitter Greens Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash we use radicchio which by itself can be quite bitter. I include a combination of arugula, frisée and baby lettuces for balance. Choose the ones you like. If you find the radicchio to be too bitter you can soak the pieces in ice water for 10 to 30 minutes, then drain and dry before adding to the salad.

Bitter Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash close up

Green Goddess Dressing

This creamy tangy dressing brings the whole salad together. It’s full of fresh spring herbs that have distinctive healing qualities and remarkable flavor. There are only a few ingredients and it can be made in a food processor or blender. This is what you need:

Yogurt – Classic green goddess dressing is made with mayo or sour cream, but I use yogurt to make it healthier. Choose any type of yogurt you like; whole-milk, nut-milk or coconut-milk. The probiotics they contain fill your gut with good bacteria for better digestion.

Fresh Herbs add distinct flavors and aromas into this salad and have healing qualities. I include parsley and basil.

  • Parsley is a natural diuretic which flushes out toxins.
  • Basil has antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties. It helps maintain skin health, boosts digestion and detoxifies the body. Mint can be substituted, it’s really good too!

Lemon Juice tastes great and helps promote liver function and regularity. It also detoxifies your body by acting as a diuretic to flush out potential toxins.

Olive oil adds richness to the dressing.

Avocado is a superfood packed with fiber which promotes good digestion. It’s full of healthy fats which feed your brain and keep you satisfied.

Scallions add a spicy, peppery flavor. I use only the green and light green parts which are less sharp.

Put everything in a food processor or blender and process for 1-2 minutes until totally smooth.

Serve the leftover dressing with spinach fritters, salmon cakes, other salads or as a dip for cut-up vegetables. It will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator.

This salad recipe is easy to make. Start by roasting the butternut squash. While it’s roasting make the dressing.

In a large bowl mix together the radicchio, greens and butternut squash. Pour enough dressing over the salad to lightly coat it, and toss well (about half the dressing). Serve warm or at room temperature.

I think you’ll love this delightful mix of sweet, bitter and creamy tastes in this spring salad. Fresh and bright for spring yet hearty enough to keep you satisfied on a chilly day. It’s a beautifully balanced main or side dish with contrasting textures and flavors. Enjoy!

Bitter Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash platter on napkin

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Bitter Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

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  • Author: Ingrid DeHart
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


This bitter green salad with roasted butternut squash is a magnificent colorful mix of contrasting tastes and textures. Cleansing and satisfying, perfect for spring.



For the Squash

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt of choice (whole-milk, nut-milk or coconut-milk)*
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed basil or mint leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 scallion, green and light green parts only, sliced
  • 1/2 ripe Hass avocado, pitted and cubed
  • 23 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

For the Salad

  • 3 cups radicchio, cut into bite size pieces*
  • 6 cups crisp salad greens (such as arugula, baby greens, baby romaine, frisée or a combination), torn into bite-size pieces 


  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet, and toss with oil, salt and black pepper. Spread squash into an even layer, and roast until tender and caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  3. Taste a squash cube and add more salt, pepper if it needs more flavor.
  4. Meanwhile, make the dressing: Place yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, oil, scallions, avocado and water in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth and uniformly green, 1 to 2 minutes. Add more water if necessary to get a smooth creamy consistency.
  5. Taste and season with salt, pepper and more lemon juice as needed. It should taste bright and tangy.   Set aside.
  6. To assemble the salad: in a large bowl, combine radicchio, salad greens and roasted squash. Pour enough dressing over salad to lightly coat it, and toss well (about half the dressing). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, with more dressing on the side.
  7. Serve with warm or room temperature butternut squash.
  8. Makes 2 main dish salads or 4 starter salads.
  9. Store left over dressing in the refrigerator for 3 days.


Use coconut or nutmilk yogurt for vegan, coconut yogurt for AIP.

If you find the radicchio to be too bitter you can soak the pieces in ice water for 10 to 30 minutes, then drain and dry before adding to the salad.

Nutrition information is with all the greens and butternut squash, whole milk yogurt and half the dressing. 

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Salad Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: Paleo, Vegan, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

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