This arugula and roasted butternut squash salad is topped with pecans, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, and an orange vinaigrette. It is a perfect salad for the fall and winter seasons, and looks beautiful on the holiday table.
Seasonal salads are a great way to celebrate the produce that is in season near you, like this Strawberry Salad and Pecans and Feta for spring, or Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad for winter. This Arugula and Butternut Squash Salad along with the Fall Harvest Salad are both great fall and winter salads.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Roasted vegetables make a hearty autumn salad.
- Colorful and inviting salad that highlights beautiful fall produce.
- Most components can be prepared ahead of time.
Dana’s Note: I designed this salad recipe to take advantage of fall and winter produce. It’s easy enough to make as a weekday salad and pretty enough to be served with a holiday meal. The butternut squash makes it a more filling hearty salad, so I’ll often pair it with soup on Sukkot or with latkes on Hanukkah.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Butternut squash - You will need about 2 pounds of squash, which is about one medium sized butternut squash. Roasted butternut squash is tender with a nutty flavor. You can substitute for sweet potato.
- Arugula - Arugula, also known as rocket or rucola, is a leafy green that has a slightly peppery taste. The “baby” arugula version is more mild. The slightly peppery taste pairs well with the sweetness of the orange juice in the dressing. You can use regular or baby arugula for this recipe, or substitute for baby kale.
- Pecans - Crunchy pecans add a nice texture contrast to this arugula salad. Substitute for your favorite nuts or seeds like pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, or walnuts.
- Pomegranate seeds - Also known as “arils”. You will need the seeds from 1 pomegranate, or you can buy them already seeded at Trader Joe's and some supermarkets.
- Feta cheese - This salty cheese is a great compliment to the sweet citrus dressing. Substitute for goat cheese or shaved parmesan cheese.
- Honey - Substitute for maple syrup.
- Orange juice - Adds a touch of sweetness to the vinaigrette.
- White wine vinegar - Substitute for apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
First, spread the squash cubes out in a single layer on a roasting pan. Roast the squash until the bottoms are lightly golden brown and squash is soft. Then broil squash until they brown. Set aside and let cool.
To make the salad dressing, place all dressing ingredients in a glass jar with a secure lid. Shake vigorously until the dressing is well combined.
Finally, assemble the salad. Place arugula in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle the pecans, dates, butternut squash, pomegranate arils, and cheese on top. Add most of the dressing and toss. Taste and add more dressing if desired. Serve immediately.
- Save time by purchasing pomegranate seeds from Trader Joe’s.
- Line your sheet pan with parchment paper for easier clean up.
- Make the dressing and roast the butternut squash a day in advance to save time.
- Add a protein - To make a more hearty dinner salad, add chicken, turkey, or chickpeas.
- Change up the veggies - You can try roasting other fall and winter vegetables for this salad, like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, cauliflower, or parsnips.
- Change up your salad greens - Do a combination of half arugula or baby spinach with half romaine lettuce, or try mixed baby salad greens.
The day before or earlier in the day, you can prepare the squash, dressing, and measure out your ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.
You can also prepare the dressing a day or two in advance and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the salad.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Store salad without dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Store the salad dressing separately.
More Salad Recipes
- Fall Harvest Salad with Apples and Pomegranate
- Thai Chicken Salad With Peanut Dressing
- Strawberry Spring Salad with Pecans and Feta
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dates, Pecans, and Cheese
Frequently Asked Questions
Roasting a butternut squash helps to bring out its flavor by caramelizing the sugars.
For this recipe, it is easier to peel and dice the squash before roasting. Use a vegetable peeler, or a sharp paring knife to remove the peel.
Arugula and Butternut Squash Salad
- 2 pounds butternut squash cut in ½ inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- A few pinches of salt
- 14 ounces arugula
- ¾ cup pecans chopped and toasted
- 5 ounces pomegranate seeds 1 Trader Joe's container or from 1 pomegranate
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled, (dairy or vegan)
- 15 dates sliced into small chunks (optional)
- ¼ cup orange juice or juice of one small orange
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon runny honey or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Several grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
- To roast the squash: Roast squash in a 450º degree oven in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet for 18 minutes or until the bottoms of the squash are lightly golden brown and squash is soft. Put squash under broiler for 1-2 minutes until the tops of the squash are flecked with brown. Set aside, and let cool. The squash can be roasted ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.
- To make the dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a glass jar with a secure lid. Shake vigorously until the dressing is well combined.
- Assemble the salad: Place arugula in a large flat bowl. Sprinkle the pecans, dates (optional), butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, and cheese on top. Add most of the dressing and toss. Taste and add more dressing if desired. Serve immediately.
- Make ahead: The day before or earlier in the day- roast squash, make dressing, and measure out ingredients. Store everything in the refrigerator. Assemble before serving.
- How to store: Store salad without dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Store the salad dressing separately.