Butternut squash arugula salad topped with white beans and toasted pecans, then drizzled with maple vinaigrette. This is the perfect fall salad. Spicy arugula is studded with roasted butternut squash, creamy cannellini beans, crunchy pecans and sweet cranberries. This salad can easily be a meal on its own, or a healthy, filling side. Try it with my stuffed acorn squash for a fantastic fall dinner.
The combination of the vegetables and beans with a little sweet and a little crunch makes this a delicious salad any day of the week, but especially if you try to do a meatless meal once in awhile.
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Butternut Squash Arugula Salad
Many years ago, I had an appetizer that was a simpler version of this salad served with crostini. We were on our honeymoon and the moment we got home, I set out to recreate those flavors in a hearty fall salad.
This butternut squash arugula salad has become one of my go-to salads in the fall and winter. It is hearty and filling, yet not heavy. If I’m feeling the need to make it even more substantial (read: I’m starving!), I’ll cook some grains and toss them in.
As always, I say use whatever you have on hand but my favorites for this salad are: freekeh, wheat berries, farro, or barley. I like something a little chewy here.
Aside from peeling and roasting the butternut, the only “labor” involved here is whisking up a few ingredients for a dressing.
Arugula Salad with Butternut Squash and White Beans
Salads are not just for summer. Fall salads can be even more creative, in my humble opinion. My favorite winter salads are Superfood Salad with Pomegranate or this Grilled Pear Gorgonzola and Candied Pecan Salad.
Both are hearty, filling salads that happen to be meatless. They are not vegan, but you easily make them vegan by leaving off the cheese.
White Bean Arugula Salad
Canned beans are perfect for busy weeknight cooking, and I use them myself when I’m short on time. However, if I have planned ahead that week, I really prefer soaking and cooking dried beans. You can get so much more flavor out of dried heirloom beans!
That being said, I’ve used canned beans in this recipe, because it is convenient and practical. And also, because I did not plan ahead…
How to peel butternut squash
Butternut squash has a long neck and a round, seeded bottom. I find the easiest way to peel and seed a butternut squash is to slice a thin piece off from both ends and then, using a Y-peeler, peel from top to bottom.
Once the squash is peeled, slice through it at the bottom of the neck, just above the rounded bottom half. The neck does not have seeds, which makes it easier to cube. The bottom is mostly seeds, so you’ll need a large spoon to scoop those out.
Don’t discard the seeds, you can toast them in the oven for a tasty snack! I give you directions for toasting squash seeds in this stuffed acorn squash recipe. Now, you’re ready to roast the butternut squash.
Feel free to swap out different greens or add your favorite cheese to this salad. This butternut squash arugula salad makes a great addition to your holiday table, so be sure to pin it to your favorite Thanksgiving board 🙂
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to make this recipe –
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Arugula Salad with Butternut Squash and White Beans
For the Salad
- 12 oz baby arugula
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cleaned and cubed
- 1 cup canned white, cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
For the Dressing
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, I use an aged vinegar for this
- 1 -1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like it
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Toss butternut with two tablespoons of canola or olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast on the middle rack for 20 - 30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. I like mine a bit caramelized, so I leave them in a little longer. Everyone's oven is different, yours may take less time or a smidge longer.
- While the butternut is roasting, make the dressing: Whisk all ingredients (except oil) together and then drizzle oil in slowly, in a steady stream while whisking quickly. If it doesn't emulsify, it's ok, just give it a good whisk again before you drizzle it over your salad.
- Drop the cranberries into a bowl with a bit of hot water for 10 minutes so they can plump up, then drain and set aside.
- Toss the pecans onto a small sheet pan and slide them into the oven for 5 minutes just so they warm through a bit, then let them cool slightly before giving them a rough chop.
- When squash is cooked to your liking, remove from oven and let it cool slightly before adding to the salad.
- Pile the greens on a platter (or on plates) and top with the butternut, beans, cranberries and pecans.
- Drizzle dressing over the top and dig in.
This recipe will serve 4 people... Or 2 very hungry people.
If you prefer certain greens, use what you like best... Different greens have different textures and tastes, feel free to experiment and change it up.
A bit of fresh goat cheese crumbled on top of this salad is divine, give it a try!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 217mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 7gSugar: 15gProtein: 8g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.