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Arugula Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Almost maxed out on my title there, but I wanted you to get the full picture. This was originally an Ina Garten recipe but I swapped to what I had and liked it better. This salad has a place in your life and I’m going to tell you why. One reason is that it actually tastes even better than it looks. I recently hosted Thanksgiving. My cousin asked me the day before if I was making anything fun and the answer when I’m hosting is almost always “no”. You can’t put effort into several unique and time-consuming recipes when you host, you just won’t enjoy yourself. It was the post Thanksgiving  Friendsgiving that this salad came into play. I was asked to bring a salad. Just a salad. We had a birthday party before so I roasted my squash and made my dressing beforehand, then grabbed my fixings to head to Friendsgiving. I assembled the salad there in just a few minutes and we all loved it. Loved it so much, in fact, that I made it again the next day to photograph and save on here. My husband at the whole second day salad himself, true story.

Using toasted walnuts would make it easier – or using purchased candied walnuts. I had made these as a snack near the cocktails at Thanksgiving, so I used those. They did make the salad pretty spectacular, so if you feel like going the whole nine yards and making them, I’m sure your family would be happy to eat whatever is leftover. Lastly, I served this on a large flat serving dish (it had a two inch rim) and liked that it was a little different – bowl works too.

This salad will join the ranks of these two – which are my most made and most loved by friends salad by far.

Strawberry, Goat cheese and Pistachio Salad

Salad with Apples, Candied Pecans, Sharp Cheddar and Creamy Lemon Dressing 

Arugula Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts 

Serves 6

1 Butternut squash, peeled, seeds scraped and diced to 3/4 in cubes

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 c. dried cherries

8 c. arugula

1/2 c. candied or toasted walnuts

1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese (or if soft, just break apart evenly)


3/4 c. apple cider or juice

1 shallot, finely diced

2 tbsp. cider vinegar

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash with oil and maple syrup and spread evenly across large sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until bottoms of cubes are golden brown.
  2. To make dressing, place cider/juice, shallot, and vinegar in small sauce pan and heat over medium high until mixture boils. Reduce to simmer and cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup.
  3. Add mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk until emulsified.
  4. To assemble salad, toss arugula with desired amount of dressing in large mixing bowl, and spread arugula on large, flat, rimmed serving dish (or bowl if you don’t have a dish). Top with squash, cherries, walnuts and goat cheese. Serve.