I'm not sure what attracted me to this salad, but it seemed like an interesting vegetarian meal. I figured with the addition of butternut squash the salad would be filling enough to constitute an entire meal. Generally I require meat of some sort to consider a salad as an entire meal (see my Chicken Soba Salad for a perfect example of what I consider an entree salad), but in this case the butternut squash seemed both entree-worthy and incredibly seasonally appropriate. The fact that the dressing was a warm cider vinaigrette made it even more seasonal. Did I mention that it suddenly got really cold in NYC over the weekend? It is supposed to be a high of 46 degrees tomorrow! That's crazy! But it is perfect butternut squash soup weather (supposing of course that we had another squash).
Anyway, this was an interesting salad. And a very autumnal one. I liked it and it was very filling, but it verged on being a little too sweet for me. In the future I will probably cut out the maple syrup while roasting the squash because with the Craisins (which are sweetened), the apple cider (sweetened) and the cider vinegar it got a little cloyingly sweet. I would definitely make the dressing again, because I really enjoyed it (although it did require more effort than our usual vinaigrettes). I would also make the salad again, but with a few minor adjustments.
Recipe after the jump!
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients
By Ina Garten
1 (1 1/2 lb) butternut squash, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp minced shallots
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 oz. 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.