Arugula Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette Recipe

Hi friends! Tracy here, coming to you from the test kitchen at Food and Meal. I’m so excited to share a light and refreshing salad that has become my go-to summer appetizer – arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, shaved parmesan, and toasted pine nuts.

Let me tell you, after a long hot day, this salad completely hits the spot. The peppery arugula paired with the bright, citrusy dressing cools me right off. And the crispy, salty parmesan and pine nuts add the most perfect crunch. It’s simple but full of bright flavors that never fail to revive me.

I first tried arugula salad at a lovely little bistro on a weekend getaway with my husband last month. We were celebrating our anniversary, and with the kids at grandma’s, it was so nice to sneak away and decompress together. We both work crazy hours during the week, so date nights are few and far between!

When the waiter brought out this vibrant plate, I was instantly intrigued. I had never thought to use arugula as the base of a salad rather than just a spicy accent. But let me tell you, it was absolutely delicious! The arugula held up so nicely to the bold dressing, which was perfectly balanced by the creamy parmesan. I knew I had to try recreating it at home.

After some tinkering in the Food and Meal test kitchen last week, I nailed down a version that I just had to share with you all. This salad makes me feel like I’m right back on that little patio, toasting to anniversary #12 with my love. It’s the perfect starter for a special summer dinner with friends. Or serve it alongside grilled chicken or fish for a light, no-cook meal on a hot night.

 Arugula Salad
A vibrant bowl of freshness! Arugula salad with cherry tomatoes and feta.

Arugula Salad Recipes

Arugula Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash And Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette Recipe 1

Arugula Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Arugula is an annual, peppery plant that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It has a fresh, bitter, and peppery flavor and is often referred to as "garden rocket." The herb is also known as roquette, eruca, colewort, and cole wort. In this recipe, the arugula leaves are tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and some salt.
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: French, INTERNATIONAL
Diet: Vegetarian
Keyword: arugula, butternut squash
CookingStyle: Handcrafted Cooking
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 635kcal
Author: Tracy Hilton
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  • Place 3 oz of the vinegar and the brown sugar in small saucepan over medium heat. Let it reduce for a few minutes. When you see that the color has turned a dark caramel and bubbles start to form, add the apples and garlic, and sauté until the apples are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the apple reduction into a blender; add the remaining 1 oz vinegar, thyme, juice of ½ lemon and salt to taste. Process and then slowly add the oil, blending until emulsified.
  • To prepare the salad, toss ingredients with vinaigrette right before serving.



Arugula salad is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Its peppery flavor doesn't need much in the way of other ingredients. You can add spinach to the salad to add some color and texture. Spinach will also soften the arugula's flavor. You can also add fruit and veggies to the salad. Arugula pairs well with berries, pears, oranges, and roasted almonds. To top it off, you can sprinkle with parmesan petals or goat cheese.
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Serving: 4servings | Calories: 635kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 36g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 735IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg
© Food And Meal

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the Spoonacular Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

Alternative Method: Grilled Arugula Salad

Arugula Salad
Grilled perfection: try our alternative method with arugula salad on the grill.

To prepare a grilled Arugula Salad, start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat and ensuring the grates are clean and oiled to prevent sticking. In a large bowl, toss cherry tomatoes and red onion slices with olive oil, salt, and black pepper before grilling them for 4-5 minutes until they develop grill marks and a slight char. If adding grilled chicken or shrimp, season them and grill until cooked through. In a serving bowl, place fresh arugula leaves and add the grilled veggies and protein if using. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat. Finish by sprinkling crumbled feta cheese on top. This grilled Arugula Salad offers a light, flavorful, and slightly smoky twist on the classic, making it a perfect dish for any occasion.

Tips for making Arugula Salad

Arugula Salad
Pair your arugula salad with a glass of crisp white wine for a delightful experience.

Cooking Tips

Wash it well! Arugula tends to hold more dirt and debris than other greens. I like to soak the leaves in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain and spin dry. This helps remove any hidden grit.

Use young arugula. The younger, smaller leaves tend to be more tender. The mature ones can have a slightly bitter edge. I look for the baby or wild arugula at the store.

Don’t skimp on the acid! Arugula can handle an extra squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar better than delicate greens. The brightness balances out the pepperiness.

Add salt and fat! A bit of good olive oil and flaky salt helps mellow out arugula’s bite and makes it more craveable. I also love mixing in salty, creamy cheese.

Massage the leaves! Use your hands to gently knead the dressed arugula leaves right before serving. This softens them up and helps the flavors penetrate.

Serving Suggestions

 Arugula Salad
Wrap it up! Arugula salad in a whole-grain wrap for a portable meal.

For serving suggestions with Arugula Salad, pair it with dishes like Grilled Halibut for a light and refreshing meal with complementary flavors and textures. Alternatively, serve it alongside Vegetarian Ramen for a satisfying and balanced combination of flavors. For a more substantial option, enjoy it with Steak Teriyaki for a delightful contrast between the savory steak and the peppery arugula. Another option is to pair it with Soy Sauce Eggs for a protein-rich addition to your salad. These serving suggestions provide various options to enhance the enjoyment of your Arugula Salad, making it a versatile and delicious dish for any occasion.

FAQs of Arugula Salad

Arugula Salad
Garnish with parmesan shavings and fresh basil for extra flavor.
  • Can I prepare the dressing in advance? Yes, you can prepare the dressing ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Just give it a good shake before using.
  • How do I keep the arugula fresh for longer? Store arugula in an airtight container or bag with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Keep it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
  • Can I make this salad ahead of time for a party? While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare all the components separately and assemble the salad just before serving to maintain its crispness.
  • How do I add grilled chicken or shrimp to the salad? Simply season the protein with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then grill until cooked through. Slice or chop it and add it to your salad.
  • What’s the best way to store leftover Arugula Salad? Leftover Arugula Salad should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. However, keep in mind that salads are best when fresh, and the texture may change when stored. Enjoy within a day or two for the best taste and texture.
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As I mentioned earlier, I first discovered arugula salad during a weekend anniversary getaway with my husband. That bright, refreshing starter salad ended up being the star of the whole trip! I just had to try recreating it at home to keep those summery vibes going all season long.

After some recipe testing sessions back at Food and Meal headquarters, I landed on a version that lives up to my memories of that charming bistro. The peppery arugula, balanced out by bright citrus dressing and crispy toppings, makes for the ultimate hot weather refresher.

I have to give a shoutout to my team over at Food and Meal for being my inspiration. Coming up with delicious, crave-worthy recipes is what we do best! Whipping up this salad reminded me why I love working on the blog so much – food really does have the power to transport you back to special moments.

I'm Tracy F Hilton, a devoted culinary professional shaped by a mix of natural aptitude and refined skills from a top culinary school. In the dynamic kitchen environment, I'm a catalyst for seamless operations and timely, high-quality dish preparation. My culinary creations are a blend of art and skill, offering visually and gustatorily delightful experiences. A learner at heart, I'm continuously honing my craft, embracing new techniques, and culinary innovations. My positive, collaborative nature is amplified in fast-paced settings, showcasing my commitment to team efficiency and guest satisfaction. Each dish I present is a meticulous blend of tradition and innovation, promising an unforgettable dining experience that marries taste, aroma, and aesthetic appeal in perfect harmony. Join me on a gastronomic journey where each bite encapsulates a rich, evolving narrative of flavors and culinary artistry.

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