Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Spicy Candied Pepitas, Goat Cheese, and Molasses Vinaigrette
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup unsalted pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
- 5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 2.5 ounces baby arugula (about 4 tightly packed cups)
- 4 dates, pitted and chopped
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat the egg white in a mixing bowl with a whisk until frothy. Stir in the pepitas and mix until coated; add the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg and stir until fully combined. Spread the pepitas onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
- Bake pepitas for 10 minutes, stir, and continue baking until lightly browned, about 20 minutes; remove from oven, stir once more, smooth into an even layer, and allow to cool at room temperature.
- Peel cooled pepitas from the parchment paper and break apart.
- Increase oven temperature to 400°F (205°C). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the maple syrup, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl; add the squash and toss until evenly coated. Arrange the squash in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet, discarding any leftover liquid in the bowl.
- Roast for 20 minutes, stir, and continue roasting until the squash is tender and starting to caramelize, about 20 minutes more; remove from oven to cool slightly.
- Blend remaining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, molasses, mustard, garlic, shallot, and remaining salt in a blender until emulsified.
- Arrange the arugula on a large platter; top with the roasted squash, spicy candied pepitas, dates, and goat cheese. Drizzle with molasses vinaigrette to serve.
This recipe is involved, but the components can be made up to a few days ahead so you can effortlessly get it on the table for a quick dinner or impressive lunch. You might even want to make an extra batch of pepitas for snacking. (Warning, they are addictive!)
What others are saying
Jessica Scott says:
I had pre-cut butternut squash in my fridge and couldn't think of what to do with it, so I decided to try this recipe. Such a great idea, combining the squash with arugula for a salad. I forgot I was even eating a salad, because it was so filling. The molasses dressing was sweet and delicious. The only thing I changed is I used raw, unsalted pepitas, instead of baking them in the oven.
Caro Hodgin says:
It's begging to look like Fall around here and winter squash are already starting to flood the grocery stores! I made this with acorn squash and it was fabulous, but I bet it would be even better with the butternut squash called for here since it's a bit firmer. This is a perfect Fall salad - the creaminess from the blue cheese, the sweet crunch from the candied nuts, and the pepperiness from the arugula all compliment the delicately roasted squash perfectly. Will definitely make again. Use goat cheese if your crew doesn't like blue.