The Ultimate Autumn Salad

I’m back and with The Ultimate Autumn Salad!

In my neck of the woods, there really is no fall or autumn.  Not this year, anyway.  It went from 80s to 40s in a matter of a few weeks, and I am reeeeaaally craving some 50, 60 and 70 degree weather.  That’s the Midwest for ya’.  I just got home from DC and it was in the 50s and 60s there (but crazy windy!) and I came back to 41 degrees and I kinda wanna pout and throw a temper tantrum.  If you didn’t already know, I am not a huge fan of winter.

The Ultimate Autumn Salad on white plate.

This is seriously the best autumn salad.

Either way, I am not going to let this winter-ish weather spoil my fall food craze.  I refuse.  And that’s where this GORGEOUS autumn-inspired salad comes in. It has handfuls of fresh salad greens, sliced honeycrisp apples, juicy pomegranate arils, roasty-toasty butternut squash, candied cinnamon walnuts and apple cider vinaigrette.  OMG. 

Can it get any better?!

Apples on a cutting board.
Candied walnuts on a marble board.

I like to roast a large batch of butternut squash and use it throughout the week (throw some eggs on them for breakfast!).  My method of slicing, dicing and roasting it is pretty simple:  I cut the ends off the squash, microwave it for 2-3 minutes to help soften it, let it slightly cool, peel it (get a good vegetable peeler!), cut it in half lengthwise then separate the bulbous end from the shaft, scoop the seeds out, then slice it all in slabs and into cubes.  After that, I toss it in oil and salt (and red pepper flakes if you want a kick!), lay it flat on a baking sheet and roast it at 400 degrees 30-40 minutes or until it’s tender.  If you’re feeling crazy, you can broil it on low for a few minutes to get a nice crispy exterior (I encourage you to feel crazy).  I promise to post a quick and simple video on chopping and roasting butternut squash very, very soon!  

The topping: candied walnuts.

I also garnish this salad with candied walnuts, but I do it without adding a ton of sugar.  I melt a few tablespoons of butter in a skillet, whisk in a tablespoon of dark brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon, then stir in the walnuts until they’re fragrant and slightly toasty and the sauce mixture has thickened.  I line then on parchment paper to cool and voila!  The best candied walnuts ever with not a alot of sugar.  BOOM.

The Ultimate Autumn Salad on a white plate.

And the dressing is simple: apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, real maple syrup, olive oil, salt and black pepper.  You’ll want to slather this dressing on all the fall things.  Promise.

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The Ultimate Autumn Salad

The Ultimate Autumn Salad on white plate.

The Ultimate Autumn Salad (that’s good for winter, too!) with salad greens, honeycrisp apples, roasted butternut squash, candied walnuts and juicy pomegranate arils.  Served with a light apple cider vinaigrette.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Roasting, Stove-Top, No-Cook
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

Salad Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch coarse salt and ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 medium crisp apple, cored and sliced
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Place in the refrigerator.
  3. Toss butternut squash cubes in oil and salt and spread out on the baking sheet. Roast 30-40 minutes or until squash is fork tender.  Turn to a low broil and broil for 3-4 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crispy on the outside.  Let cool.
  4. Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter or a wooden cutting board. In a medium skillet over low heat, melt butter and whisk in brown sugar and cinnamon.  Stir in walnuts and cook on low 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until walnuts are slightly toasty and butter mixture has thickened.  Transfer walnuts to the sheet of parchment paper to cool.
  5. Assemble the salads by arranging greens, apple, pomegranates, cooled roasted squash and candied walnuts on plates or in bowls.
  6. Serve salads with dressing.

Notes

Cooking Tip: You can make the roasted butternut squash up to 3 days in advance – refrigerate in an airtight container.  You can make the candied walnuts up to 2 weeks in advance – store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 287
  • Sugar: 12
  • Sodium: 406
  • Fat: 24
  • Saturated Fat: 5
  • Unsaturated Fat: 19
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 18
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 3
  • Cholesterol: 10

Keywords: fall salad, autumn salad, healthy, easy, ideas, for a crowd, best, fruit

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