Roasted Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad with Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash, Craisin, and Arugula Salad

We ate this salad for dinner  3 times last week.  I just can’t get enough of it.  I think it is the best salad I’ve ever had.  It is a great combination of salty and slightly sweet ingredients.  There are different textures in it as well.  And it is such a wonderful  salad for fall with the orange color of the butternut squash together with the deep maroon of the Craisins.

Have you ever roasted butternut squash before?  It is really easy.  All you have to do is slice off the outer skin, cut it into slices, spoon out any seeds or pulp, and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.  It doesn’t take long if you have a good sharp knife.  Then you toss it with some olive oil and a small amount of real maple syrup, throw it in the oven for 20 minutes, and it is perfectly done.  The tiny bit of maple syrup gives it the most amazing flavor and helps it to get slightly brown and crusty on the outside.  If you like roasted vegetables, you will just love this salad.

Butternut Squash

The thing that  makes this salad great, though, is the dressing.  It contains apple cider vinegar and brown sugar, 2 wonderful fall flavors that go so well with squash.  It is similar to the dressing I use on my  Grilled Apple Salad.  In fact, if you are not a squash person, try using apples instead.  I just want you to be able to taste this dressing.  It will spoil you, though.  You will become a dressing snob and never be able to use bottled dressing again.  You will completely turn your nose up when walking down the dressing aisle of the grocery store and not even glance over at them.  It wasn’t my intention to become a snob. I couldn’t help it.  I ate the dressing and before I knew it I was hooked.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you. There is also one other thing you need to know.  You may start running towards the butternut squash aisle in the grocery store too.  I was so happy last week when I saw them piled up in the corner.  I had to refrain from clapping.  After all, I didn’t want to cause a scene.  But if you see someone at the store, laughing and clapping in the corner, now you will know why.  They must have eaten this salad and are headed for more butternut squash. Please don’t judge them.  This could be you one day.

Butternut Squash, Craisin, and Arugula Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad with Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette

For the Salad:

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and 3/4 inch diced
  • good olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (don’t use the fake stuff)
  • kosher salt (regular is fine too)
  • 1/3 to a 1/2 of a bag of arugula
  • 1/2 c walnut halves, toasted (untoasted is still good)
  • 1/2 of a purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Craisins
  • 1/2 c feta
  • freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the butternut squash cubes in a bowl.  Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil, the maple syrup, and 1 tsp. salt, and toss with the squash until it is evenly coated with the ingredients.
  3. Place the coated squash on a sheet pan in a single layer, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until tender and slightly browned on one side.  Remove from oven and let set until needed.
  4. While the squash is roasting, make the dressing (see recipe below).
  5. Place arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, walnuts, Craisins, and onions.
  6. Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss.
  7. Add in feta, and toss gently just a little bit.
  8. Grate fresh parmesan with a potato peeler to garnish.  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette

  • 2/3 c canola oil
  • 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Whisk together oil, cider vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and salt until blended.

Dressing adapted from a recipe in Southern Living Magazine.  Salad slightly adapted from Ina Garten.


About Shari

My name is Shari, and I am an Arizona native and married mother of 3 who loves to cook and bake and figure out how to garden successfully in our suburban home in the desert. On this blog you will find a combination of savory and sweet recipes that have been tested by me, along with many tips to help you be successful. I hope you enjoy them! (
This entry was posted in Christmas, Company, Fall Recipes, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Roasted Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad with Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette

  1. Mmmm! This sounds terrific. And look how easy it is to roast butternut squash! How come I haven’t been doing this all these years? Sheesh.

    • cookazido says:

      Now that you’ve roasted a pumpkin, a butternut squash will seem easy!:) I’m not a huge fan of maple flavor, but there is something wonderful that happens when you combine real maple syrup with butternut squash. They were meant to be together. And, I kind of want to roast every vegetable in sight now that I know how great roasting is. I think a pumpkin may have to be next. Got any tips? Thanks for stopping by!

      • Tonight I’m making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins – and I hope enough make it to the freezer. (I have a nasty habit of eating my baking as soon as it comes out of the oven.)

        I froze most of the cooked pumpkin to use later – especially for that lovely, gooey treat you posted last week.

      • cookazido says:

        Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins sound delicious! I think you need to add a cooking section to your blog. I have the same habit that you do as far as eating what you bake right away. You have to taste it to make sure it turned out, right?:) Then it is hard to stop eating mid-muffin! It sounds like you are going to have some yummy treats this Thanksgiving!

  2. elamb says:

    This looks fantastic! I love roast pumpkin in salads, so I will definitely try out your vinaigrette 🙂

    • cookazido says:

      Thank you very much! I would never have thought about putting pumpkin in salad until I saw Ina’s recipe. I’m so glad I tried it. I hope you like the vinaigrette. It is pretty much the same as the dressing for my Grilled Apple Salad without the basil and green onions. Either one would be great with this salad. I tried the dressing Ina recommended, but it didn’t have that little bit of sweetness that pairs so well with the squash so decided to use this one instead. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Three times in one week? I’d better try it for sure! I love everything about it!

    • cookazido says:

      Yes! The dressing makes a large amount so I didn’t have to make new dressing each time. I also had some of the butternut squash leftover one of the times. It was much better freshly roasted, though. I hope you get to try it. Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. Pingback: Autumn Cobb Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette | Cook AZ I Do

  5. Beautiful! Love the colors and how the shredded Parmesan falls on the salad.

    • cookazido says:

      Thank you, Liuba! Fall colors are just so pretty. The parmesan and feta added a lot to the salad, too. The dressing, though, was my favorite part. I appreciate your comment! Thanks for stopping by.

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