Roasted Squash & Goat Cheese Salad – Your Valentine’s Day Starter

Feb 8, 2021 | Recipes, salads

This week at Chef’s Notes is all about helping you craft a perfect Valentine’s day meal at home. Let’s face it, you probably aren’t going to a restaurant this year. Today, we’ll make a delicious Roasted Squash and Goat Cheese Salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and almonds. This salad makes the perfect starter for your Valentine’s Day meal. On Wednesday, we’ll make the main course, and on Friday we will make dessert. By the end of the week, you’ll have all the knowledge and skill to make a delicious three-course Valentine’s Day meal for two. Let’s get to it.

Roasted Butternut Squash

For two people, you’ll need half of a butternut squash. I prefer the bottom half for this salad, you’ll see why in a little bit. Cut the top half off your squash, use it to make soup, or roast it for a side dish. Cut the bottom part of the squash in half and remove the seeds. I recommend peeling the squash even though I didn’t. It’s easier to eat if you do. Once you have the bottom of the squash freed of seeds and skin, slice it into one-centimetre slices. Put the squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400°f oven for 35 minutes or until the squash is tender and slightly brown. Take the squash out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature.

Balsamic Dressing

While the squash is roasting, make the balsamic vinaigrette. You can find the full measurements in the recipe below. Start with mustard powder, salt, pepper, and honey. Then add in your balsamic vinegar. Slowly whisk in your oil, perferrably canola or vegetable oil. The dressing should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Put the finished dressing in a jar and store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Putting The Squash Salad Together

The salad ingredients are the roasted squash, the balsamic vinaigrette, arugula, sliced almonds, and goat cheese. If you aren’t a fan of arugula, you can substitute it for baby spinach or mesclun if you’d like. I really like arugula and I find the peppery nuttiness of it balances the tartness of the dressing with the sweetness of the squash. The goat cheese can be substituted for blue cheese, parmesan, or old cheddar. You can also substitute the almonds for hazelnuts, cashews, or pecans.

Dressing The Arugula

For two people put three to four cups of greens in a mixing bowl and toss with two to three tablespoons of the dressing. You want just enough dressing to coat the greens, but not drown them.

Plating The Squash Salad

Get two small round plates, and plate the roasted squash in a circle around the middle of the plate. Put the dressed greens in the middle of the squash, then top with a few tablespoons of the cheese and the nuts. If you’d like, you can finish the salad with a little bit of fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of salt.

Roasted Squash Salad

Squash Salad

Roasted butternut squash salad with balsamic vinaigrette, arugula, almonds and goat cheese. This makes the perfect start for a dinner party, or a romantic dinner for two.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: Butternut Squash, Starter, Valentine’s Day
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Chef’s Notes


Roasted Butternut Squash

  • The bulb of a butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Roasted Squash Salad

  • 4 cups of arugula
  • 1/4 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup of goat cheese


Roasted Butternut Squash

  • Cut the squash bulb in half through the middle. Remove the seeds and peel it. Slice the squash into 1 cm slices.
  • Put the squash slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast the squash in a 400°f oven for 35 minutes of until the squash is soft and slighty brown around the edges. Take the sqaush out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the mustard powder, salt, pepper, honey, and balsamic vinegar.
  • Whisk in the canola oil in a slow steady stream. If you notice that the oil isn't mixing in, stop adding oil, and whisk until it has been incorporated then continue to whisk in more oil.
  • The finished dressing should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Once the dressing is made, transfer it to a jar and put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Roasted Squash Salad

  • Put the arugula in a large mixing bowl and toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the balsamic vinaigrette. You want just enough dressing to goat the arugula, but not so much that it is drowning.
  • Get to small round plates and palce the roasted squash in a circle around the center of the plates. Put the dressed arugual in a pile in the center of the squash circle.
  • Divide the almonds and goat cheese among the two salads. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The Wrap Up

The hardest part of making this salad is the dressing. If you are that intimidated by it, you can buy balsamic vinaigrette at the grocery store instead. The fact is that this a very simple salad that looks beautiful and tastes amazing. Whoever you are making this salad for is going to be blown away because it is exaclty the type of thing you would get in a nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day. The difference is that you made it yourself for a fraction of the price. You can’t beat that. Remember to come back on Wednesday for your Valnetine’s Day main course.

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