Roasted Butternut Squash Arugula Salad

Fall is in the air! With this comes roasted butternut squash, pumpkin spice lattes, and cozy sweaters. But don’t get stuck with just these flavors for the season because you can enjoy roasted butternut squash year-round. This recipe features roasted butternut squash that is combined with arugula and a light dressing. It’s a perfect salad to enjoy all fall long!

Butternut squash is one of those quintessential fall ingredients. When the weather cools, you can bet I’m adding it to my grocery list!

When I decided I needed an awesome fall and winter salad, something with roasted butternut squash was a no brainer.

Simple, hearty and delicious, this salad is a great choice for all sorts of fall meal needs. It’s an easy choice for entertaining friends and family, but I also love to pack it as a lunch. It can go a few hours out of the fridge, and is nice warm, which makes it great for packing for work.

But I also like this salad because it keeps greens in my fall and winter diet. In past years, I find I switch to comfort food a little too easily, and my cool weather diet doesn’t contain as many fresh greens and salads as I’d like.

This salad makes it easy to keep the greens up as the weather shifts (theseRoasted Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts are another good choice).

By starting with a base of fresh greens and then adding a warm, hearty ingredient like roasted butternut squash, I’m inclined to keep up my salad intake throughout the chilly months.

And, of course, I’m partial to the “treats” on this salad, especially the sugared toasted pecans.

They’re super easy – simply toast the raw pecans in a dry skillet for a few minutes, and then remove. In the still hot skillet add olive oil and some brown sugar, stir it up, and then toss the pecans back in. Easy and pretty much fool-proof!

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 whole butternut squash, washed, peeled and cut into evenly sized cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (use real maple syrup, not the fake stuff)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons shallots or onions, minced
  • 5 ounces fresh baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan shavings
  • Optional: dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with your rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Wash the butternut squash and chop into 1″ cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine 1.5 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, ~ 1 tsp kosher or sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss the squash cubes and mix until they’re evenly coated.
  4. Roast squash for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until it’s tender but not mushy.
  5. While the squash roasts, prepare your sugar toasted pecans. Heat a heavy, medium skillet over medium heat on your stove. Once hot, add the whole pecans into the dry (no oil) pan and until toasted and lightly fragrant. Toss frequently and keep and eye on them so they don’t burn. Remove from skillet and set aside the pecans.
  6. In the same skillet, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp brown sugar and stir to completely combine. Then add the toasted pecans back into the pan with a pinch of sea or kosher salt. Toss for 1 to 2 minutes until fully coated. Remove from heat and transfer the pecans to a flat piece of parchment paper to cool. Spread them out so they don’t stick to each other.
  7. In a small saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar and shallots or onions, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook on medium high for around 6 to 8 minutes until the cider mixture has reduced. Remove from heat.
  8. Whisk in the honey, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to the cider mixture.
  9. Divide the washed fresh arugula equally into four individual bowls, and toss in the butternut squash and pecans.
  10. Mix together honey, apple juice, cider vinegar reduction. Add more salt or pepper if desired. Serve immediately