When you’re in the middle of the season of butter, gravy, and pie, there’s something refreshing about a fall salad. When you need something green that isn’t covered in cream sauce, this fall salad is there for you. And this salad comes together so easily, you’ll be wondering why you even considered making that chicken pot pie for dinner. (I mean, we know why you wanted to make it: pie crust.) The hardest part of this recipe is preparing the butternut squash, forever the bane of my existence.
Butternut squash is delicious and oh-so seasonal but dear god, is it hard to prepare. I have to grease up my butternut squash skills every fall because I know I’ll be tasked with dealing with it at least once. It’s been three times so far this season and I can feel myself getting slightly better. This is probably the point in the blog post where I’m supposed to offer you some nifty trick for easier prep but no, you don’t want any tips from me. Just do your best not to chop off your fingers. And peel as quickly as you can, because the faster you peel, the less time you have to spend cursing this seasonal gourd.
Once you have the squash chopped and roasted, it’s just a matter of assembly. Add those squash pieces and shallots to the arugula, along with the toasted walnuts. Crumble up some feta and sprinkle over the salad. Pour a small amount (I say ¼ cup) of dressing onto the salad mixture and toss to combine. The balsamic dressing is slightly thicker than a vinaigrette so a little goes a long way. And boom! You’ve got a salad. Pat yourself on the back for cooking and dig in.
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large shallots, peeled and quartered
2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted
5 ounces of baby arugula
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Start by preparing a baking sheet with parchment paper and spreading out the walnut pieces in a single layer. Toast at 375°F for 5-10 minutes. Let cool and raise oven temperature to 400°F.
Toss butternut squash and shallots with olive oil and roast in 400°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tender and golden brown. Let cool.
Add balsamic vinegar, minced garlic clove, olive oil, and dijon mustard to a bowl or cup of your choice and whisk until combined. I think a liquid measuring cup is super helpful. Transfer to a storage container to keep in the fridge.
Prepare salad by mixing together squash, shallots, walnuts, and feta on a bed of arugula. Top with ¼ cup of dressing and toss to mix.