Fall/ Salad/ Vegetarian

Healthy Fall Salad

large wooden plate with a heaped arugula salad

I SUPPOSE we all need to eat salad every once in a while, right? Arugula is my favorite green and it’s awesome in this healthy, flavor-packed salad. I’ve had this recipe, torn out of the Bon Appetit Magazine, stashed in my borderline hoarder collection of recipes since October 2009.  The original calls for pumpkin but I use butternut squash. Here’s my breakdown of how to make this quickly and options to go warm or cold.

sheet pan of cubed butternut squash with spices and olive oilThis salad SEEMS like a lot of work but here are all the ways I “cheat” to deliver a very flavorful and healthy salad in not a lot of time/effort. 1) Use canned lentils. YUP. Drain and fully rinse and these bad boys are ready to go right away. 2) Buy the squash peeled/cut at the grocery store. I genuinely avoid pre-cut vegetables since they are often slimy and I’m suspicious about additives, but butternut squash is my major exception. I hate breaking down butternut squash more than anything.

aerial view of goat cheese arugula and squash on a wooden plateThis is a great salad for entertaining and looks gorgeous on a huge platter. Prep all the ingredients ahead of time and store until ready to serve (dressing, crumble cheese, chop mint, put the arugula in your serving bowl and cover, rinse/drain lentils, and cook/cool the squash). Then all you need to do is assemble and dress the salad.

zoom of arugula lettuce butternut squash and lentils on a wooden charger with salad tongsServing Warm: while the squash is still warm, toss gently with all other ingredients. You’ll get an “ugly delicious” mushing of the goat cheese, squash, and lentils and the warmth of the squash will slightly wilt the arugula. This is my favorite way to serve and eat the salad, but it is not as visually attractive as the cold version. Also some people don’t like salads with any warm components.

close up of butternut squash on lettuceServing Cold or “un-mushed”: allow the butternut squash to fully cool after baking. Once cool, toss the greens and lentils with the dressing gently and arrange on one large platter or individual salad plates. Then scatter the squash and goat cheese on top and serve.

I rummaged around on the world wide web and here’s Bon Appetit’s digital version of this recipe that I’ve saved from the October 2009 print magazine. 

Butternut Squash, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad

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Serves: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup green lentils, cooked or drained and rinsed from a can
  • cubed butternut squash, approximately 1.5 lbs
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided into 2 and 1
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika (or whatever paprika you have/can find)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

1

Set oven to 375 degrees.

2

On a large pan, toss the squash in 2 TBS olive oil and the cumin, paprika, and salt.

3

Roast for 20 minutes, turn, roast for another 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4

Whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar.

5

In a large salad bowl, place the arugula and mint, and season with salt and pepper.

6

Add the butternut squash, lentils, and half of the goat cheese, and toss gently with the dressing.

7

Serve with the remaining goat cheese crumbled on top.

Notes

Another great crunchy topping to serve this salad with is toasted pepitas and/or bacon or crispy pancetta. Can be served warm or cold depending on preference.

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