Looking for a side dish or appetizer to serve for Thanksgiving? Make this Easy Vegan Butternut Squash Orzo Salad, a creamy protein-rich meal that features 8 ingredients (like onion and vegan feta cheese) and only requires 10 minutes of prep time.

For this dish, we’re cooking it up and serving it alongside juicy butternut squash and a large assortment of sautéed veggies. Finally, we’ll top it with feta for a creamy touch that makes the entire side dish complete!

It’s like pasta, reimagined. This dish is just as easy as plain old spaghetti in that all you have to do is chop and saute the veggies, boil the orzo, and assemble.

  • Olive Oil: First up, we’ll need olive oil for prepping the squash and sautéing the veggies.
  • Butternut Squash: Peeled, deseed, and dice a butternut squash (here’s how).
  • Orzo: 1 lb of uncooked orzo (aka risoni) will be used to create 6 delicious, heaping servings.
  • White Onion: Next up, chop up 1 medium-sized white onion to achieve about 1 cup, diced. You could also use yellow onion if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Garlic: And because every good dish includes garlic, 3 cloves will taste great. You can slice or mince the cloves.
  • Kale: We’re sneaking a bit of green into this dish by using 4 cups of finely chopped kale. It tastes great and helps sneak in extra nutrients!
  • Vegan Feta: Sprinkle ½ cup of vegan feta crumbles on top because cheese makes every dish a little better.
  • Salt and Pepper: Finally, ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper will bring out the flavors of the dish, making everything pop!

Prep time:10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Vegan Butternut Squash Orzo Salad

Serves 6


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil divided, 30 mL
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 lb uncooked orzo aka risoni, 453 g
  • 1 cup diced white onions 90 g
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced or minced
  • 4 cups finely chopped kale 360 g
  • ½ cup crumbled vegan feta cheese 100 g
  • ¼ tsp each salt and pepper


  1. Butternut: Peel, seed, and dice the butternut. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium/high heat in a large skillet, then add butternut. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until butternut is fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. When finished, roughly mash half of the butternut, then remove it from pan and wipe clean.
  2. Orzo: Meanwhile, cook orzo according to the instructions on package, about 10 minutes. Strain, cover, and set aside.
  3. Saute: Heat remaining 1 Tbsp of oil over medium heat in your skillet. Add onion and garlic, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add kale, cover, and cook until kale wilts and is soft, 5 minutes.
  4. Assemble: Stir together butternut, sautéed kale mixture, orzo, feta, salt, and pepper.

Nutrition Information
Serving: 1serving Calories: 427kcal (21%) Carbohydrates: 74.4g (25%) Protein: 13.7g (27%) Fat: 8.8g (14%) Saturated Fat: 2.6g (16%) Cholesterol: 11mg (4%) Sodium: 260mg (11%) Potassium: 590mg (17%) Fiber: 5.6g (23%) Sugar: 7.4g (8%) Calcium: 174mg (17%) Iron: 4mg (22%)

About Sarah Bond: I’m the creator of Live Eat Learn along with recipe developer and photographer. I graduated from Penn State with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition, then kept that wild love of food going by earning my Master’s Degree in Sensory Science. Put simply, I just love food. When I’m not making or thinking about food, I’m probably out in the foothills of Denver, skiing or hiking with my pup, Rhubarb.

For more great recipe content from Sarah Bond, check out her blog, Live, Eat Learn.

For more great recipes that are dairy-free, check out The Beet's recipe library of more than 1,000 vegan or plant-based recipes.

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