A Perfect Intro to a Dinner Party – {Butternut Squash Arugula Salad}

by Stephanie Tulman on October 16, 2013

Butternut Squash Arugula Salad This post may be a little premature as we’re just staring to celebrate Halloween, but before you know it, Halloween candy will be 75% off at CVS and Christmas will explode on the scene (more than it has already).  Last year was my first holiday season in my new home.  The winter holidays are my absolute FAVORITE things.  Since I was now in a house and not an apartment style condo (with horrible HOA restrictions on decorations), I went ALL OUT nuts on decor.  Not quite Clark Griswold, but give me time, and a few years, and I may be there!   Not only did I decorate the outside, but I also got excited and went Christmas crazy inside the house!  Well, I wanted to share the spirit of the holidays, as it oozed from my house, with my friends.  So, it was the perfect time to have a dinner party!

Butternut Squash Arugula Salad Single

I made this salad to kick off a small dinner party and was so excited that it was a hit!  It was adapted/inspired by an Ina Garten recipe that I came across last year when researching Thanksgiving recipes.   I changed the ingredients slightly and plate each serving separately, where Ina’s recipe calls for tossing the entire salad, plus vinaigrette, in a bowl and then serving.  I feel like dishing out each serving on its own ensures that everyone at the dinner party gets a good amount of each ingredient.  AND, it allows for them to put as little or as much vinaigrette on the salad as they prefer.  PLUS, you can store the leftovers without worrying about wilting arugula!  BONUS!  The vinaigrette is served warm, by the way, and it is amazing!  The combination of apple cider and apple cider vinegar is the perfect first flavor for your next Autumn dinner party spread.

Butternut Squash Arugula Salad Double

For the Vegan Ashleys, DUH, this is already vegan.  (Seems like that happens week after week – not on purpose – but you see how easy it is to eat vegan?)  For the carnivores, you could let this salad shine by leaving it as is for the first course and then serve meat with your main dish, or, you could add some steak for a well-rounded carnivorous meal!

Thanks for stopping by This Chick’s kitchen!

xo, This Chick

Butternut Squash Arugula Salad

Butternut Squash Arugula Salad


  • Olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp maple/agave syrup (i found a nice blend at Trader Joes)
  • 3 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 bag ____ ounces arugula
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (placed pine nuts in a saute pan and heat on medium until your nose tells you that they're toasted! yum!)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, lightly toss the butternut squash, 2 Tbsp olive oil, maple/agave blend, salt and pepper. Place the mixture on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Flp the squash and roast for another 10 minutes, adding the cranberries to the pan for the final 5 minutes.
  2. While the squash is roasting, put the cider vinegar, apple cider and shallots in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the reduction results in 1/4 cup of liquid. Put the vinaigrette in a serving dish and whisk in the dijon, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To serve, place arugula in each bowl, add some squash and cranberries to each serving as well as the toasted pine nuts. Drizzle the warm vinaigrette over each serving and eat while it's hot!


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