ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND FIG SALAD WITH BALSAMIC CIDER VINAIGRETTE
This recipe was both inspired by and adapted from Ina Garten’s roasted butternut squash salad recipe, which you can also find in her Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook. It is divine. My adaptation substitutes fresh figs in place of dried cranberries and leaves out the parmesan cheese; and the dressing swaps balsamic in place of apple cider vinegar, and uses a lot less oil to lighten it up.
The roasted butternut squash, toasted walnuts, zingy arugula, and cider-balsamic dressing combines all of my favorite flavors of Fall. I usually double this recipe and make this salad for company, because it does require the extra effort of peeling, cubing, and roasting a butternut squash, but the end result is so delicious, believe me it is worth it! I created this adaptation over the weekend and brought it to my card night get-together and it got rave reviews and a few requests for the recipe on Facebook.
It presents beautifully in a large low bowl, and easily doubles to serve a larger gathering of 8-10.
- 1 11/2 lb (small) butternut squash
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pure maple syrup
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 ¼ C apple cider (or apple juice)
- 2 TBS. balsamic vinegar
- 2 TBS. shallots minced (or regular sweet onion)
- 2 TBS. Dijon mustard
- 1 clamshell (5 oz.) package of baby arugula
- 1 C walnut halves
- 6-8 fresh figs, de-stemmed and quartered
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, then cut into ¾" cubes
- Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place squash onto sheet pan, drizzle with 2 TBS. olive oil & 1 TBS. maple syrup, ½ tsp. salt, & ¼ tsp. pepper. Toss well with your hands.
- Roast the squash for 20 minutes, turning once galway through. Squash should pierce easily with a fork when done.
- While the squash is cooking, make the vinaigrette.
- Combine the apple cider with the shallots in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until you have approximately ? C remaining of the cider shallot mixture.
- Remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the cider-shallot mixture, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, 1 TBS. maple syrup, and 2 TBS. olive oil. Set aside.
- Heat a dry saute´pan over medium heat. Add walnut halves when the pan is hot. Toss walnuts frequently and watch them carefully until they are lightly browned. Be vigilant as they go from nicely toasted to a charred mess very quickly! Remove to a separate plate.
- Place arugula in a low serving bowl. Pour vinaigrette over and toss lightly until well combined.
- Place butternut squash, figs, and walnuts over top.
I always make extra roasted squash and vinaigrette to have on hand.