Wednesday, January 25, 2012

roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette

I made myself a fancy lunch yestereday for this week's "new year, new recipe."  Although, it's not really fancy, the title just sounds oh so grown up.  Anyway, I prefer simple good ingredients to fancy.  What about you? 

Warm butternut squash mingles with the parmesan and spicy arugula, melting and ever so slightly wilting.  There is sweetness from both the squash and from dried cranberries, and a delicious nutty crunch from toasted pecans.  Not fancy, but very tasty.

It's really a shame I had this for lunch because it would have been lovely paired with a glass of full bodied cabernet.  (Um, full disclosure, I do sometimes drink at lunch.  Just not usually on a Tuesday.  Or if on a Tuesday, not usually alone.  But I suppose I could have should have made an exception.)

In all honesty, a glass of wine would have paired well with my frustration while peeling and dicing that damn butternut squash.  I am not a fan of that process.  But in the end, friends, it was all worth it.  Oh. yes. it. was.

Ah, and here it is deconstructed so that I can enjoy it again later tonight.  Most definitely with a glass of this.

by Ina Garten from her beautiful book Back to Basics


  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted*
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan*


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
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 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette* over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Cook's Notes:
*I toasted pecans (instead of walnuts because I love pecans, and walnuts, not so much) over a dry saute pan for about five minutes, stirring often.  I also made a lot more than suggested.  They are good to eat while you prep, plus I think the salad is better with more.
* I think the salad is better with less cheese.  (Rarely do I say that about cheese.)  
* The recipe makes a huge amount of dressing so you'll have leftovers for something else--always a good thing!

Don't forget to stop by to see Torrie's "new year, new recipe"-- Best Ever Boston Baked Beans.  (Something to make for that upcoming Sunday of Football!)


  1. gorgeous, gorgeous pictures! (particularly the one featuring a *bite :))

    wine on a tuesday afternoon? why not?

    (... or even a wednesday??)

  2. I can barely cut the butternuts in half when it's raw, I can imagine CUBING it in that state. :) I'll have to bookmark this one though I love anything that doesn't involve meat prep (ew) and vinegar.


  3. Oh this looks wonderful, I'm def going to try this as my lemon and oil roasted root veges with pears is a staple. This looks even better

  4. Yum. This is one of my favs. Ina never disappoints :)

  5. Oh my gosh!! This looks AMAZING! You have such a lovely blog - it's inspiring us!

    Wardrobe Stylists, NYC.

  6. this looks and sounds delicious! loving the recipes on your blog :)

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  7. Great photos Stephanie...I really want to try this!

  8. Ok, WOW. That salad looks amazing!! I am totally making this later this week!!

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