The highest honor in this house – the “boyfriend-approved” award – isn’t easily given, especially for salads… But this one definitely received it 🏆

The smoky bacon, grilled salmon, sweet butternut squash & cranberries, and crunchy pepitas – it all balances so perfectly

This dressing is a balsamic with caramelized shallot and garlic, so you know you can’t go wrong there!

It’s also paleo-friendly as long as the bacon you use is compliant 🥓

Bring in the fall with all of this amazing salad!

Recipe makes 4 servings



  • 1 butternut squash
  • 6 pieces of bacon
  • 4 pieces Atlantic salmon
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp fig balsamic vinegar *
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tbsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. Dressing: Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat, then add the shallot. Cook for 3-5 minutes until caramelized. Turn off the heat, add the garlic and saute another 30 seconds until fragrant. Set aside to cool, then mix in the remainder of the ingredients.
  3. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds (I recommend roasting them tossed in a little olive oil and salt for about 10 minutes), and dice the squash into bite-sized pieces (about ½ an inch cubes). Toss them in a little olive oil and lay them on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until they begin to brown, tossing them halfway through the baking time. Set them aside when done.
  4. On the second baking sheet, lay the bacon pieces and bake for about 15 minutes (could be more or less depending on thickness of bacon) or until crisp. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate when done to cool, then slice or dice the bacon.
  5. Turn your grill to high (400F). Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the salmon pieces. Once the grill is hot, brush some olive oil on the grill, then lay the salmon skin-up and close the lid. Cook for 7-8 minutes before carefully flipping onto the skin-side and cooking for another 7-8 minutes. See notes for non-grill cooking option *
  6. Serving: Lay the arugula on a plate, top with the squash, bacon, pepitas, cranberries, and a piece of salmon. Drizzle with the salad dressing and enjoy!


  • If you don’t have fig balsamic, just add another 2 tbsp of regular balsamic vinegar plus ½ tbsp honey
  • Grilling the salmon is preferred, it adds a smoky flavor and forms a little crust on the salmon. If you can’t grill – just bake the salmon at 400F for about 12 minutes per inch of thickness or until it flakes easily with a fork and the inside is no longer raw.