Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash & Arugula Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut Squash & Arugula Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Serves 4 

Roasted Butternut Squash & Arugula Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

This is a quintessential fall robust salad – the colors and the flavors could not be better. Serve it alone for lunch or as companion to your evening entrée. This one blends warm and cold ingredients, highlights butternut squash, which can perk up everything from soup to grains, lending a sweet nutty note.
Star of the show....cut butternut squash
Fall brings back a lot of awesome things (cute sweaters and boots, anyone?) and one of my favorites is the return of the roasted butternut squash! I could eat roasted butternut squash every day and be a very happy camper. It’s like candy to me.
  • 1 Medium butternut squash (1½ lb.), peeled and diced into ¾” pieces
  • ¼ C + 2 Tb Extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 Tb pure maple syrup (Note: not brown corn syrup!!)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tb dried cranberries
  • ¾ C apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 Tb cider vinegar
  • 2 Tb minced shallots
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 5 ounces mix of arugula & baby lettuce leaves (or substitute with Mache or arugula alone)
  • ½ C walnuts or pecans, toasted and roughly chopped  (see below for candied pepitas –another great option!)
  • ¾ C shaved Parmesan (or substitute with goat cheese or crumbled Gorgonzola)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan.  Add 2 Tb olive oil, maple syrup, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper and toss. Roast squash for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until tender and lightly browned. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

Squash cubes with cranberries
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until cider is reduced to about ¼ C.  Off heat, whisk in the mustard, ¼ C olive oil, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.


Mix a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the roasted butternut squash.  Place the mix of lettuce & arugula in a large salad bowl. Add the roasted butternut squash mixture, the walnuts and the shaved Parmesan (see end of recipe for how to make candied pepitas as a substitute for walnuts).  Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

This is a great versatile salad that works for lunch or dinner. You can add protein in the form of sliced chicken, steak or cubed firm tofu, but on its own, it makes for a nice light dinner that's still comforting. The squash wilts the greens slightly, but there's plenty of texture in the nuts to keep the salad feeling crunchy and bright. Serve it with crusty bread and enjoy!


Candied Pepitas
  • ¼ C pepitas
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 2 Tb brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or more to suit taste)
  • ¼ tsp salt

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add nuts and remainder of ingredients.  Cook until sugar is bubbly and darkened.  Cool on parchment paper.  Sprinkle over this salad and any other or scoop up by the handful!

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