Recipe Night: Arugula and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
this recipe is quickly becoming a family favorite (EBN is a big fan of the sweet chunks of butternut squash). as the weather gets warmer (did i miss my moment?) i find that i’m craving salads more and soups less. this one is quick and easy too if you follow one essential rule – buy pre-cut squash
ARUGULA AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD – adapted from THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA
- 1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and diced – i do find that i often like the cut the “pre-cut” pieces in half
- 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 – or any kind with a bit of a kick!
- 4 oz (a few handfuls) of baby arugula
- 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted (not burned…the real challenge )
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- LBN ADDITION – chicken breast (even better if you have something already leftover!)
pre-heat your oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with tin foil – no reason to dirty one more dish! go ahead and lay out the butternut squash pieces. drizzle a bit of olive oil (about a tablespoon), the maple syrup, salt and pepper and toss. my trick? i use the tin foil to rub the squash…then my hands don’t get super oily/sticky…i know, i’m a genius. put the squash in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes.
while the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider (this time i had some juice so i used that instead), vinegar and shallots and bring it to a boil over medium heat. cook until the liquid has reduced.
off the heat whisk in the mustard, 1/4 cup of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper.
at this point, i toast my walnuts. i have no photo of this because, no matter what, i always leave my walnuts in the toaster oven too long and they burn. it’s like my fatal flaw or something. anyway, my recommendation is sit your ass down and watch those suckers while the toast. and take them out before they are done. oh, and you should probably let them cool before you taste them because…they are hot and they will burn your tongue. promise.
if you are like me, you always have a couple of chicken breasts lying around. if you are really lucky, they are already cooked and ready to go. if you are like me, really, then you need to quickly cook up your chicken because they do make a great addition to the salad. this time i went easy-peasy. i put a little chicken stock at the bottom of a casserole dish, sprinkled the chicken with lemon pepper, salt and pepper, turned the oven down to 350 and baked them for about 20 minutes. are you wondering what happened to the other half of the breasts pictured above? EBN had to eat too
place your washed and dried arugula in a salad bowl. add the squash mixture to the top. cut chicken and add to salad too. sprinkle walnuts, cranberries and grated parm. spoon the vinaigrette on top and serve immediately.
this photo doesn’t really do this hearty salad justice – a great mix of sweet (the squash and syrup and cranberries) and tart (arugula adds a nice bite!) even better served with fresh sourdough bread.