Are you a salad person? I am, but I don’t often order salads when I’m out to eat because I almost always find that the ones I make at home are more flavorful, more filling, and healthier. Recently, I ate dinner at a long-established Tucson restaurant, where my entree came with a soggy iceberg lettuce salad, complete with a tasteless spongy tomato (yes, tomatoes can be spongy) and “balsamic vinaigrette” that tasted like corn syrup. Instantly I found myself dreaming of my own homemade salads, filled with varied greens, roasted vegetables, and discernible cheese. Much like this Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad, in fact.
When it comes to finding seasonal recipes for the local produce in my Tucson CSA share, I look to two people: Ina Garten (a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa) and Deb Perelman (a.k.a. Smitten Kitchen). Both of these women create incredible, dependable, and simple recipes based on good quality, seasonal ingredients. They have yet to steer me in a bad direction.
This week, searching for a way to use the plethora of peppery arugula from my Tucson CSA share, I looked to Ina Garten. In her great wisdom, she guided me with a warm butternut squash an arugula salad that required not one, not two, not three, but four ounces of arugula (that’s a lot of arugula). Inspired, I went on to lightly adapt her recipe and make this Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad. I’ll tell you one thing: it’s no limp iceberg lettuce “salad.”
This hearty winter salad is medley of diverse flavors and textures: crisp, peppery arugula; tender, caramelized squash; creamy, tangy goat cheese; crunchy, salty croutons; and crumbly, nutty walnuts. The whole thing is tossed in a warm apple cider vinaigrette, which tastes like fall itself. Indeed, this Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad is one you’ll come back to time and time again.