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

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

Yield: serves 2 to 4

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

  1. #
    1
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — October 14, 2013 @ 7:20 am

    Your acorn squash is roasted so perfectly. Love it. And the pomegranate ginger vinaigrette – mmm, I want that on a salad right now!

    Glad to hear you think the TJs pumpkin ice cream is excellent. They were sampling it the other day and I thought it was stellar but I was also starving and I swear, samples just taste better than when you get them home – but I was so impressed with it. So glad you think it’s that good, too :)

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — October 14, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    Oh gosh that last picture is making my stomach rumble.

    We never get pumpkin related products in Australia , So i gladly welcoming all of them to my house. I also get that ‘high” when shopping. Too bad it often leads to me buy more than I need in fruit and veg.

    Stunning salad!

    Reply

  3. #
    3
    Amanda @ Food, Fitness, Faith — October 14, 2013 @ 7:36 am

    A TJ’s opened up five blocks from my apartment about a month ago and I’ve only gone once! I am a failure. The remedy is clearly pumpkin ice cream. And this salad. The photos are GORG!

    Reply

  4. #
    4
    Tieghan — October 14, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    Seriously, pomegranates are the best. I just consumed 3 of them over the course of two days. So freaking good. I can’t get enough. Plus, I am all about the caramelized squash. Looks so freaking good and I also can’t get enough of any and all winter squashes. Yum.

    Such a gorgeous salad. I love the colors and the flavors!

    Reply

  5. #
    5
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — October 14, 2013 @ 7:39 am

    Your salad looks amazing! I too am a huge fan of pomegranates!! Don’t even get me started on TJ’s pumpkin ice cream. I bought it once and will never buy it again! I ate the whole thing in less than 2 days! Friggen amazing!!

    Reply

  6. #
    6
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — October 14, 2013 @ 7:43 am

    This salad is totally calling my name. I’m all over it!

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs — October 14, 2013 @ 7:55 am

    This looks amazing! What an interesting combination — you definitely couldn’t call this a boring old salad!

    Reply

  8. #
    8
    cindy — October 14, 2013 @ 8:16 am

    I love pretty food and this is GORGEOUS! These might be my favorite photos of yours, ever. For real.

    Reply

  9. #
    9
    Sigourney — October 14, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    These pictures are AMAZING! So beautiful.

    Reply

  10. #
    10
    Ali @ Inspiralized — October 14, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    This is RIGHT up my alley, I’m so glad I follow you on bloglovin’. Salads can be fun too, see! :)

    Reply

  11. #
    11
    Jenna — October 14, 2013 @ 9:10 am

    Gorgeous photos!!! This salad looks wonderful

    Reply

  12. #
    12
    Carrian — October 14, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    Any excuse to eat pomegranates I’m in! This looks delicious!

    Reply

  13. #
    13
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — October 14, 2013 @ 9:44 am

    What a gorgeous salad!!

    Reply

  14. #
    14
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — October 14, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    I am tres impressed that this is 1.) not chopped and 2.) does not include bacon. Very adult for a Monday Jess!

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 14th, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

      I know, I can’t believe it’s not even chopped.

      Reply

  15. #
    15
    Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness — October 14, 2013 @ 10:30 am

    You had me at “caramelized squash.” Then, I kept reading….I LOVE salads and this one sounds so yum! Not to mention gorgeous!

    Reply

  16. #
    16
    Rose — October 14, 2013 @ 10:39 am

    This looks awesome.. I agree FULLY poms and apples are my fave fall things. I also just go to town making a mess and eating the seeds right outta the skin! But I bet with the juice in the dressing and the acorn squash (my favourite squash!) it would be worth sacrificing some seeds to this salad!
    Making this tomorrow! It’s thanksgiving here in Canada and I can soo see some leftover turkey on top of this salad :)
    I hate arugula, but I bet this would work with spinach or baby kale!

    Reply

  17. #
    17
    Sandy Coughlin — October 14, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    The colors and flavors in this salad are mind blowing! Love fall salads.

    Reply

  18. #
    18
    allie@sweetpotatobites — October 14, 2013 @ 11:05 am

    I love pomegranates too and always throw them in a salad whenever I can. I usually prefer butternut squash over acorn, but I def want to give acorn a try after seeing this salad.

    Reply

  19. #
    19
    Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts — October 14, 2013 @ 11:11 am

    SO colorful!! I love this!

    Reply

  20. #
    20
    Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen — October 14, 2013 @ 11:53 am

    I love this! So beautiful. I wish the leaves were changing in el lay. :(

    Reply

  21. #
    21
    Brittany — October 14, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

    I LOVE salads with roasted squash!!

    I rarely buy or eat pomegranates… even though I really like them. This recipe will give a reason to buy one.

    Reply

  22. #
    22
    Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate — October 14, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

    Salad is my favourite dish to play around with. There are so many different combos you can do of vegetables, vinaigrettes and crunchy garnishes like croutons and candied nuts!

    Reply

  23. #
    23
    Alex Caspero MA,RD (@delishknowledge) — October 14, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

    Your weekend sounds like mine! This salad looks delicious, I love all those components, especially the dressing.

    Reply

  24. #
    24
    Cate @ Chez CateyLou — October 14, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

    What a perfect combo of fall flavors!! I could eat a whole plate of that roasted squash, mmmm

    Reply

  25. #
    25
    erin — October 14, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

    That looks sooooo good!!! :)

    Reply

  26. #
    26
    Lisa — October 14, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

    Wow that’s beautimous!!!

    Reply

  27. #
    27
    Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living — October 14, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

    Wow, these photos are gorgeous, and I’m sure they do the flavor of the recipe justice. However, ever since I was a kid I’ve not been a fan of squash. What would you recommend as a substitute? Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 14th, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

      If you want to stick with the fall theme, I’d probably just leave it out – I think you can really throw in anything you want.

      Reply

  28. #
    28
    amanda — October 14, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

    Looks amazing! Stunning photos! Love that you can throw it all together in 20 minutes!

    Reply

  29. #
    29
    Eileen — October 14, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    What a beautiful salad!! Your pictures are amazing and totally embody fall :)

    Reply

  30. #
    30
    megan @ the domesticated wolf — October 14, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

    omg i have to make this like…now!

    Reply

  31. #
    31
    Tara — October 14, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

    Where are you finding avocados that nice in Pittsburgh? The last like 10 I’ve bought have been complete duds.

    Reply

  32. #
    32
    Salah (SalahSays) — October 14, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

    This salad looks absolutely amazing!!! Definitely a winter salad :-)

    Reply

  33. #
    33
    Aggie — October 14, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

    Pomegranates are like fruit crack. I get a small flat of them at Costco and empty a few at a time into large mason jars…emptying them takes forever but it’s sooo therapeutic :)

    I’m dying over that acorn squash. It looks perfect!

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    marcie — October 14, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

    This salad looks so crazy good! I love all of those autumn flavors and colors together.

    Reply

  35. #
    35
    Jenni — October 14, 2013 @ 11:30 pm

    This is definitely one of those meals that’s far too pretty to eat. Except it also looks too delicious not to eat…quite the conundrum. Is there no cheese in this recipe? You made a vegan meal?!

    Reply

  36. #
    36
    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — October 15, 2013 @ 12:26 am

    LOVE all the colors and flavors of this autumnal salad, girl! That dressing…will be featured on many salads over this season. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  37. #
    37
    Sophia(loves.to.bake) — October 15, 2013 @ 3:02 am

    This salad is absolutely beautiful! I think I HAAAVE to make it. I have no other choice. Looks so goooood. :)

    Reply

  38. #
    38
    Teffy — October 15, 2013 @ 5:15 am

    Oh wow.. that looks absolutely delicious!! I love salads, but it seems like such a summer staple. This one serves autumn perfectly =)

    Teffy { Teffys Perks Blog } X

    Reply

  39. #
    39
    Ashley@BakerbyNature — October 15, 2013 @ 7:06 am

    This salad = all I want right now.

    Reply

  40. #
    40
    Anne — October 15, 2013 @ 7:16 am

    WOW! This is gorgeous. I totally want some right now. For breakfast.

    Reply

  41. #
    41
    Tracy | Peanut Butter And Onion — October 15, 2013 @ 7:40 am

    so much beautiful color!!! wow, that is all

    Reply

  42. #
    42
    Prudy — October 15, 2013 @ 9:16 am

    So, So pretty… you put two of my favorites in this salad..pomegranates and acorn squash. It looks absolutely wonderful, and I cannot wait to try this. It’s one of those dishes in which you want to dig in, but it’s just too pretty!!

    You mentioned Trader Joe’s ice cream…. We finally have our own Trader Joe’s! They just opened one in Amherst, NY…which is about a 15 minute drive for me. Yay!! it’s about time… :-)

    Reply

  43. #
    43
    Ayanna — October 15, 2013 @ 9:25 am

    These pictures are absolutely amazing… WOW!! Think I know what I need to be making soon!

    Reply

  44. #
    44
    RavieNomNoms — October 15, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    This is so awesome! I just love every ounce

    Reply

  45. #
    45
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — October 15, 2013 @ 11:38 am

    I haven’t seen poms here yet but my own obsession will start soon…with a cocktail first I presume! Lovely salad indeed.

    Reply

  46. #
    46
    Stephanie — October 15, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    Looks like a delicious way to balance out those heavy holiday meals! I shared a delicious pumpkin pie with mascarpone recipe on my blog today that you would love! http://theladyolive.com/2013/10/15/best-pumpkin-pie/

    Reply

  47. #
    47
    ClaraMeyer15 — October 15, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

    my Aunty Maya recently got a nice year old Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid just by part time work online… look at this now ow6.com

    Reply

  48. #
    48
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen — October 15, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

    LEGIT obsessed with this salad and the photos!
    My favorite squash is acorn, too! It’s amazing when you roast it with brown sugar and cinnamon then scoop a little vanilla greek in the middle of it. :)

    Reply

  49. #
    49
    Heather McClees @ThesoulfulSpoon — October 16, 2013 @ 2:13 am

    Oh my gosh! Seriously the best salad recipe I’ve seen all year! I’m making this tomorrow and I’m already drooling

    Reply

  50. #
    50
    Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes — October 16, 2013 @ 5:41 am

    Yep. This is exactly what I want to eat. I love it! Really beautiful moody pics too Jess. Lovely!

    Reply

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