It was only during the 15th century voyages of Christopher Columbus that Europeans became familiar with acorn squash, a vegetable native to the western hemisphere and eaten for thousands of years by native Americans. The hearty vines became popular garden vegetables with colonists in the New World when they realized their storage quality during the long, cold New England winters. This recipe combines three New England staples—squash, maple syrup, and apples—into a heart-healthy, cancer-fighting powerhouse of a salad with a meaty texture that will satisfy all those who made 2020 New Year’s resolutions to eat less meat and more vegetables.

Kitchen Notes

To remove the skins from the hazelnuts place nuts into an oven safe dish and into a preheated 400 degree F. oven for 10 minutes. Cool just enough to handle and place nuts in a FLOUR SACK or other lint free towel, wrap and roll the nuts around. Not all of the skin on the hazelnuts will peel off. No worries, just remove the papery bits that have a funny texture. Reducing the cider intensifies the flavor, but the dressing is delicious without this step. Use the remaining dressing to toss with roasted vegetables. The dressing will keep 3 days in the refrigerator. Using a tiny pot to reduce the cider makes it easy to monitor as the surface area to volume is more proportionate. To make the squash easy to cut in half, soften for 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave.

cuisine American
difficulty Simple
season Fall
serves 4


  • 2 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced 1/4”
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, papery skins removed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black peppers


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the halved squash in a baking dish or on a quarter sheet baking tray and put the diced apples in the holes.
  3. Add the butter, 2 tablespoons apple cider, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to a small bowl. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds or until the butter is melted. Use a pastry brush to paint the edges of the squash with the melted butter mixture and then pour the remaining mixture evenly over the cavities of the 4 pieces of squash and the diced apples. Roast the squash for 25 to 35 minutes (longer if the squash is larger), until it is easily pierced through with a paring knife. The tops of the squash should be beginning to caramelize.
  4. In a tiny pot over medium heat, reduce the remaining 1 cup cider by half.
  5. Add the reduced cider, cider vinegar, maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a blender or Vitamix. Gradually pour the olive oil through the lid and blend to emulsify. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Just before serving, combine just enough of the dressing to lightly dress the arugula (there will be dressing leftover) and toss with the goat cheese crumbles. Finish by sprinkling pomegranate seeds over each squash.
  7. Plate the acorn squash. Fill the squash cavity with the arugula salad, and sprinkle each half with the hazelnuts. Serve immediately.