Fall has finally hit us in Florida. We had a low of 48° which means the windows are open at night, best sleeping weather ever! I was even able to leave the windows open all afternoon, for a couple of days anyway, before the temperature went back up to the uppers 80’s. This was a nice treat, even for a few days as we don’t normally get colder weather until January. However, I am taking a trip for a NASA event to Virginia next weekend and I hear they are going to be experiencing a cold snap. I am excited I get to bust out my hat and mittens early.
However, the problem with the weather here in Florida is that we rarely get to experience the Fall – we go from summer to about a week of winter and right back to summer. We drink our Pumpkin Spice Lattes in 90° weather. On the other hand, we don’t have to wear heavy winter coats over our Halloween costumes.
As someone who grew up in the cold Northeast, I miss the change of seasons. I miss that crisp smell of Fall. We do our best to mimic the Fall as best we can – I burn candles called “Mountain Lodge” and “Autumn Leaves”, and I like to drink apple cider and add cinnamon to everything. I also love to cook with fall vegetables like carrots, squash, and beets. And by squash I mean butternut squash. Yellow squash to me is more of a summer veggie, but butternut squash to me is more Fall-like. Maybe it’s the orange color. Maybe it’s the sweeter taste it takes on when it gets cooked. I do love this current trend of vegetable spirals and on a recent trip to Whole Foods, I picked up a package of butternut squash “pasta”.
On a recent trip to Cleveland, I had visited the West Side Market and found The Olive and the Grape stand where I picked up a bottle of Carrot-Ginger White Balsamic Vinegar. I had been looking for just the right recipe to incorporate this into my dish and I found it. I made a Butternut Squash Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Carrot-Ginger Vinaigrette. You don’t have to use the Carrot-Ginger Balsamic Vinegar, you could easily substitute an aged simple white balsamic vinegar or a red wine vinegar. (and by the way- this is not an affiliate link- I am not under a contract or an agreement with the shop.)
I was surprised how well it turned out. If only I had a fire going in my imaginary fireplace it would have really felt like Autumn to me. My next house will have a fireplace and I will have a fire going every time I cook something like butternut squash or sweet potatoes. That’s all.
For the Salad:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cups butternut squash spirals
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup diced fresh tomato
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 shallot,, minced
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- In a jar with a tight lid, add the ingredients of the vinaigrette. Tightly seal the lid and shake vigorously until the vinaigrette is blended well.
- Preheat a medium skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
- Add the butternut squash.
- Cook for 5 mminutes, stirring occasionally.
- As the squash cooks, add the arugula, pine nuts, and diced tomatoes to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the vinaigrette to the arugula and mix and toss well.
- Remove the butternut squash from the heat and add to the bowl with the arugula.
- Sprinkle the goat cheese onto the arugula and squash.
- Toss the squash and goat cheese with the arugula mix.
- Serve immediately.
Pin this recipe for Butternut Squash Arugula Salad later: