The Perfect Fall Salad

lately I have been obsessed with all things Ina Garten. you know barefoot contessa? i really think she can do no wrong. every recipe she shares is so flavorful yet simple. this is my favorite style of cooking. it would be a dream cooking alongside her. we would swap dinner party stories, measure everything to a tee and dance to her barefoot contessa jingle.
when b’s parents came to town I knew it was the perfect opportunity to go all out and try some more of ina’s recipes. we tried her lemon chicken, overnight waffles and roasted butternut squash salad. all were delectable if I do say so myself but the one that stood out to me was the salad. i loved it. b who is not a squash lover loved it. b’s parents couldn’t stop raving about it. it had all the right ingredients (not too many of them) and can be thrown together quite easily. it is the perfect fall salad.



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.

**i will say we substituted arugula for spinach just because we are spinach salad lovers. i am sure either work great.
another bonus is butternut squash is in season so Trader Joes has them available at a killer deal!

what do you think makes a good salad? what are you favorite recipes for fall?

  • Emily Attwood

    Yum, I will have to try this!