Winter salad with butternut squash and arugula.

In the throes of January, I miss simple summer salads, the ones no more complicated that a few slices of garden-ripe tomato and good olive oil, salt and pepper. You just can’t pull that off in the wintertime, not with those red cue balls masquerading as tomatoes on grocery shelves.

These days, I’m after something a little heartier and certainly more seasonal, salads that can hold their own alongside a good stew or roast chicken. And this recipe for a fine wintertime salad, with peppery arugula, sweet winter squash and tangy blue cheese is right there. It’s roughly inspired by one I enjoyed recently with a couple of writer friends for lunch at Jean-Robert’s Table, the terrif French restaurant in Cincinnati. My version isn’t quite as lovely to look at as JR’s, but it’s mighty tasty.

And while we’re exploring winter salads, stay tuned for a recipe that includes citrus and avocado, two produce favorites that are in season right now …

simple shallot vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon or whole-grain mustard
1/2 tsp. finely minced shallot
3 Tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

winter salad with butternut squash and arugula

(serves 4)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 package baby arugula, washed and spun dry
handful of toasted pepitas or sunflower seeds
2 ounces good blue cheese (I prefer Maytag for its balanced flavor and creaminess)

Slice the neck of the squash into matchsticks; transfer them to a steamer basket set over boiling water and steam the squash until it loses its raw taste and is cooked but firm (and not breaking apart), about 5 minutes. Remove the steamer basket carefully from the pot and run cold water over the squash to stop the cooking.

Place the arugula in a large bowl and season it lightly with salt and pepper; drizzle over about a third of the dressing and toss to coat. Portion the salad onto four salad plates; scatter some of the butternut matchsticks, pepitas or sunflower seeds and crumbled blue cheese over each serving. Drizzle with additional dressing if you’d like.

arugula butternut salad #writes4food

other recipes you might like

arugula salad with cranberries and pistachios

the best ever (light) blue cheese dressing

5 thoughts on “Winter salad with butternut squash and arugula.

  1. I love how you prepared the squash. I have used up all the fresh–green–veggies from the CSA farm share but still have the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve to work with. I’ve tried shredding a butternut (in pizza and stuffed into chicken) and I think I’ll give the steamed matchstick a try too.

    Too bad the greens in the garden are still buried under the snow. We were down at the Newport aquarium over the weekend and there was much less snow in Cincy than up north.

    Thanks for a delicious view this morning!

  2. I don’t care for blue cheese. What other cheese would you suggest? This salad sounds really good. We grow butternut squash in our garden and I’m always looking for good ways to serve it. Picked in the fall, butternut can last until March!

    • Hi, Patricia — Thanks for your comment. How nice that you have a big offseason supply of butternut squash! So, instead of blue cheese in this winter salad, you could go in a couple of different directions: You could go a little salty with shavings of Parmesan (use a vegetable peeler to create thin strips); you could go tangy with good fresh goat cheese or you could add deep flavor with, say, an aged gouda (cut into small dice). You really can’t go wrong! If you find an alternative you love, would you share your idea here?

  3. Pingback: 10 Delicious Squash Recipes | writes4food | recipes and wisdom from a Midwestern kitchen