Okay, so I get it.

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com

It’s October, the leaves are getting crunchy and people are losing their heads over everything pumpkin related. You could say that I’m deep in the throes of my own obsession, and I just might be but the real question I have is why isn’t everyone going berserk over pomegranates?!

They are the real jewel of fall… pun totally intended.

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com

I get super excited every autumn for the reappearance of pomegranates that do not cost $6 a pop at my local grocery store. Now, we are still talking like $2.50 per fruit, but that’s pennies compared to what they go for in the spring and summer. Sometimes I can’t even find a container of the arils.

Not only am I a complete maniac over their gorgeous color, I just absolutely LOVE to use them as a snack, in yogurt, in chicken dishes and of course, in salads. Since I’m a bit fanatical over that little thing called texture, their juicy pop does me in. Flipping out over it. I also think they are totally refreshing. I have been known to sit on the couch with an actual pomegranate in a bowl and pick out the arils one by one.

I’ve also been known to create a giant mess. (Worth it.)

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com

I’m living in a world where the leaves appeared to have changed colors over night. This past weekend we planned on taking a nice little fall drive (because we are 85 years old) but it just seemed so… green. Instead we sat around and ate our weight in homemade chicken cheesesteaks, played on pinterest until our eyes hurt, watched so much TV that I don’t even know what real life is anymore and cuddled on the couch, which translates to laying on our own sides of the sectional since we desperately like our own space. I also put a major dent in a container of Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream, and for someone who has been eating pumpkin ice cream for 20 years or so, I actually think their version is the best one. Good old Joe. I’ve got a spoon in it now.

But then yesterday, I wake up and boom – the trees are suddenly red and orange and fifty shades of yellow. Can’t it be the weekend forever?

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com

Oh well. Salad time.

This salad is practically a big, fat copout – it’s quite similar to my autumn panzanella from a few years ago, but a few quick changes make it diverse enough for me. You can really throw it together in less than 20 minutes or so, but it definitely constitutes and entire meal. The squash just MAKES it.  I love roasting them in the skin so they can be little handheld snacks. For this particular acorn squash, I caramelized it in some coconut oil and a little brown sugar. I don’t know why but those two things make thing a complete flavor explosion, if I can be so cliché. Plus, they look like adorable little crowns or something with their pretty scalloped edges. So cute.

Says the person who now calls her food cute.

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com

Some other little bits to give it an autumn kick include the toasted spiced pecans. You can swap those out for almonds or walnuts or hazelnuts or no nuts – whatever floats your boat. I threw them in with the arils for the extra crunch crunch crunch. A salad is one of the few dishes that I don’t find nuts to completely DESTROY. Like brownies or cookies. Can you really trust someone who loves nuts in their brownies?

I kid I kid.

The final step in this healthy fall mess is the pomegranate ginger dressing – pom juice with some freshly grated ginger and garlic and lots of vinegar and oil. Vinegar is also what makes a salad for me and many times I’ll use my fave pomegranate balsamic to bring everything together. Since I’m all about a salad with as few green vegetable things as possible… this one does me in.

I like to eat seasons.

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com


Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette

Yield: serves 2 to 4

Total Time: 30 minutes


2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 acorn squash, sliced in 1/2-inch thick rounds and seeds removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepped
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup whole pecans, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 cups baby arugula
1 avocado, sliced
1 pomegranate, arils removed
1 seedless cucumber, sliced

pomegranate ginger vinaigrette
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil


Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil. Cover the squash slices with salt and pepper, then add them to the skillet and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side. If desired, you can add the brown sugar to help the squash caramelize. Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add the pecans. Toast until they are slightly golden and fragrant, stirring and shaking the pan as they toast, for about 5 minutes. Toss them with the pumpkin pie spice.

Add the arugula to a large bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the avocado, pomegranate arils, cucumber, pecans and squash pieces. Cover in the pomegranate dressing.

pomegranate ginger vinaigrette
Combine pome juice, vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together. Stream in the olive oil while constantly whisking until the dressing comes together. Store in the fridge for up to one week.

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com

And color!

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173 Responses to “Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash + Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette.”

  1. #
    Simone — October 16, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    I made this last night – with leftover acorn squash I had from doing stuffed acorn squash. Oh my goodness. This was so good. I didn’t actually make my own pomegranate dressing, we bought this delicious kind, but it was so incredible.


  2. #
    CathyKarr05 — October 16, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

    just as Jack implied I’m impressed that any one can make $5759 in 1 month on the computer. learn the facts here now Exit35com


    • BRITT — October 18th, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

      ..send info on making $5759 in 1 month on computor….thanks


      • Bernice Pattow — January 12th, 2014 @ 2:15 pm

        Please send details. Thank you!

  3. #
    katie @ ohshineon — October 16, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

    i’m so glad you shared this stuff. totally mind-blowin-knock-yer-socks-off-hit-me-over-the-head-with-a-hammer good.


  4. #
    Heather — October 16, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

    This. Was. Delicious. I love fall even more than I knew. Thanks for sharing!


  5. #
    Jaclyn — October 16, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

    These photos are freakin gorgeous!!


  6. #
    Holly — October 16, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

    I got stuff to make this and I have a crazy question, is the squash skin edible?


    • Erica — September 16th, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

      I have been eating it- it is a little tough, but okay in the salad! Especially when sliced thin,


  7. #
    Amber — October 17, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight & omg this is amazing. I didn’t need to use the brown sugar on the squash & it was sooooo good! I will def be making this again, maybe even for thanksgiving!


  8. #
    Kerry — October 18, 2013 @ 1:04 am

    So I’m new to the whole pomegranate scene and I need a little help! Do I just eat the whole aril? Isn’t that a seed in the middle?! (Bought one, brought it home and dissected like the directions showed, now I have arils in the fridge awaiting further instructions!)


    • Jessica — October 18th, 2013 @ 7:00 am

      i personally do eat the whole aril – i don’t mind at all. some people spit out the inside seed though. i think it’s just preference!


  9. #
    Ruta — October 20, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

    What a grgeous salad. I love the idea of carmelized squash.


  10. #
    Rebekah — November 1, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    I am NOT a fan of pomegranate arils but I do love the juice. This salad looks so good, I will probably just swap out the arils for dried cranberries and make the rest as is. Yum. Also, I now need to try Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream- thanks!


    • Deb — November 6th, 2014 @ 11:58 pm

      Wondering how your salad turned out using the dried cranberries instead of Pom seeds? I was thinking of doing the same thing! Did you use the salad dressing from the recipe?


  11. #
    Alexandra @ Made to Glow — November 1, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

    This looks beautiful and delicious! I love all of those ingredients. What a fabulous combination. I’ve included this in my round-up of favorite recipe pins on my “Friday Favorites” post. Thanks!


  12. #
    Martin — November 2, 2013 @ 9:06 am

    The richness of this photo has stayed with me for days!
    I am making this tonight :-)


  13. #
    Cordelia — November 3, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    This is on the menu this week for sure! Looks amazing! And quite simple to make… Thanks for posting this!!!!


  14. #
    Ellen — November 6, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

    Never thought all these leftover foods I had in the fridge would make a perfect salad like this! Glad google gave me this link when I googled for all those ingredients combined. Wooowww, truly amazing :) Thanks for the recipe (and the pretty pics!!)


  15. #
    a quiet life — November 8, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

    love this, making for dinner tonight, was surprised you didn’t roast the squash, can’t wait to make your version~


  16. #
    Maddie — November 9, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    So student life confessions… I love pomegranates but the price is definitely a deterrent (I live in Chicago). I heard a rumor that Aldi carries pomegranates on the cheap (not sure if you have one where you live) and when I went I bought some for 69 cents-79 cents and they are pretty fantastic re: taste and color.

    Also… tip for shelling! I cut my pomegranates into quarters and use the curved back of a spoon to hit the skin side of the pomegranate segments. It loosens up the arils and make its a lot easier and faster!


    • Kelly W — November 27th, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

      Another tip…fill your bowl of arils with water and the white stuff will float for easy picking out.


  17. #
    Stacy — November 14, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    I made this salad last weekend. Amazing! Delicious! (and it really DID seem like I was eating fall, hehe!)
    Thanks for this recipe, it’s definitely a keeper.


  18. #
    Natalie — November 16, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    Hi there,

    I would love to make this salad for Thanksgiving, the only problem is that it has to serve 15-20 people. It seems like this recipe is designed as a meal and since my salad will only be as a side, by how much do you think I should increase the ingredients?

    Thank you!


    • Jessica — November 21st, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

      Hi Natalie! I would probably triple the recipe. I think that will be good.


  19. #
    Claire — November 30, 2013 @ 11:53 am

    Wow, that’s one beautiful salad! You’ve inspired me to rekindle an interest with the pomogranit. But more, 85 years?! Really.? Now I’m really impressed ! You’re an inspiration, I love your photos and your blog,



    • Connie — January 8th, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

      I believe the “85” comment was meant as a joke. If you click on “About” at the top of the page, you can see the author’s photo.


  20. #
    oksadie — March 16, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    Can I substitute the acorn squash for something else in Spring?


  21. #
    Erica — September 16, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

    Just made this yesterday- it goes very well with a basic honey-mustard balsamic vinegarette. I also added crumbled goat cheese. Gah, fantrastic. Thanks for the recipe base!

    In spring I’d sub grilled asparagus or sugared lemon wheels or both for the squash. And probably not put the pumpkin spice inthe nuts.


  22. #
    Karen K — September 27, 2014 @ 2:31 am

    Yum! Can’t wait to make this, AND, I just discovered Pumpkin-flavored pumpkin seeds at Trader Joe’s, which are ADDICTING :))). They would be perfect in this salad.


  23. #
    Alyssa — September 29, 2014 @ 11:37 am

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. So excited to try this.


  24. #
    Deb — November 7, 2014 @ 7:40 pm

    Wondering … This is served cold, right? You let the squash cool before putting the salad together?


  25. #
    Noeleen — November 16, 2014 @ 3:04 am

    This was almost perfect. An amazing autumn salad. The only thing I felt it was missing was a bit of cheese. I had found a recipe for chèvre balls rolled in herbed chopped pecans a while back that I absolutely adore; I decided to do that, but add the pumpkin pie spice to the mixture for the nut roll.

    Cop up pecans
    Add salt, pepper, thyme, pumpin pie spice
    combine in bowl
    roll chèvre balls in pecan mixture

    Absolutely wonderful, and the pumpkin pie spice certainly did it!


  26. #
    Cassie — March 16, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

    Beautiful and delicious!!


  27. #
    Cassie — March 16, 2015 @ 12:18 pm



  28. #
    Chrissa - Physical Kitchness — September 11, 2015 @ 11:59 am

    Hi there! I featured this recipe on my healthy fall recipe round up today. Thanks for the great inspiration! http://physicalkitchness.com/healthy-paleo-fall-recipes/



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