Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash Salad Has a Delicious Fall Twist

Fall is officially here and that means it’s time for fall recipes. Celebrity chef Ina Garten’s butternut squash salad is the perfect addition to any fall menu and, like most of her Barefoot Contessa salads, it’s easy to make. 

Ina Garten’s butternut squash salad is ready in under 45 minutes

Ina Garten smiles as she holds a spoon on the Today show in 2017
Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The Modern Comfort Food author’s salad requires a little more time in the kitchen than the average plate of greens. According to Food Network, Garten’s butternut squash salad can be prepared in about 45 minutes, The recipe instructions estimate 15 minutes for prep and 28 minutes of cooking, totaling 43 minutes.

So why exactly does the salad take almost an hour to make? Because the dish has four elements to it. They include the roasted butternut squash, vinaigrette — something the Barefoot Contessa thinks everyone should know how to make — greens, and toppings. 

The Barefoot Contessa adds a fall twist to the butternut squash salad with apple cider

Ina Garten smiles wearing a black blazer in front of a white background
Ina Garten | Getty Images/Jason Kempin

Just in case this salad doesn’t give off enough fall vibes Garten has apple cider on the ingredient list. She uses almost a cup of it to make the vinaigrette. 

The Barefoot Contessa host cooks the apple cider in a saucepan with vinegar and shallots. After it’s come to a boil she continues to cook the mixture for a few more minutes until the cider’s reduced to about one-fourth of a cup. Next, she removes the pot from the heat and adds in the last of the vinaigrette ingredients including mustard, oil, and seasoning.

What reviewers have to say about the Food Network star’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette recipe

Ina Garten smiles standing in front of a butcher block wearing a denim shirt
Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Barefoot Contessa: 4 Easy Ina Garten Salads for Every Season

The reviews are in. Garten’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette recipe has been reviewed more than 250 times on Food Network’s website at the time of publication. Not only that but it averages five stars.

“This salad is perfect in every way,” one person wrote. “The warm butternut squash and toasted nuts, the sweet spice of the dressing, and the texture of the cheese … it just all adds up to a comforting, delicious meal!”

Others described it as everything from “fabulous” and “a huge hit” to “foolproof” and “so appealing and delicious.” One reviewer even noted how the salad’s become a Thanksgiving tradition in their family because “it’s that good.” 

Others admitted they were initially hesitant about how the salad would turn out. 

“The ingredient combination made me a little skeptical, but as usual, Ina’s recipe is phenomenal,” they said. “This really is a spectacular salad!”

Another person described it as having “such an amazing flavor profile,” that they “will definitely make it again and again.” Need more proof that it’s the perfect fall recipe. Well, here it is. “This salad is an absolutely perfect fall salad,” a reviewer said. “And now, I make it all year long.” 

And what about the vinaigrette? “The dressing is worth the extra work with reducing the apple cider,” a reviewer said. 

So if there’s apple cider in the fridge from a recent trip to the cider mill, consider using any leftovers to make Garten’s butternut squash salad and warm vinaigrette.