Roasted acorn squash makes this simple, whole-grain barley salad nutritious and holiday-ready. This beautiful dish is a great way to feature fall produce!

Roasted Acorn Squash Barley Salad

Acorn squash is roasted and topped with barley and apple cider vinaigrette in this holiday-worthy salad recipe that also happens to be plant-based.

Course lunch, Salad, side
Cuisine dairy-free, fall, plant-based, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author Stephanie McKercher, RDN



  • 1 medium acorn squash, sliced into half-moons (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds (toasted if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon black and white sesame seeds (toasted if desired)
  • 1 cup cooked barley (see note)
  • ½ cup massaged kale, thinly sliced

For serving:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 375º F and spread acorn squash slices on baking pan in a single layer.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sunflower oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, cumin, paprika, and soy sauce. Pour over squash and roast 35-40 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender.

  3. In the same bowl, stir together barley and kale. Set aside.
  4. Remove squash from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Top with barley and seeds. Serve with extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. 

Recipe Notes

Preparation notes:

Preparation time includes time to cook dry barley. To prepare barley, bring 3 cups of water for every 1 cup dry grain to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Drain excess water if necessary before serving.

To toast seeds: spread seeds in an un-greased baking pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree (Fahrenheit) oven 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until golden brown.