entertainingfoodFood & Drinkin the kitchen withkristina gillrecipes

in the kitchen with: julie morelli

by Grace Bonney

A couple of months ago, Julie Morelli of Letterform, Inc. graphic design studio sent over an introduction I couldn’t refuse. The founding mission of this column was to great tasting, easy to make, beautifully photographed recipes from designers each Friday. With her Roasted Squash over Arugula with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts salad and her letterpress printed foodie greeting cards, I don’t think there’s a better combination! If you add to it the seasonality of the dish, the holidays in the US, and her great smile and sense of humor, her recipe is a match made in heaven. –Kristina

About Julie: In between running the graphic design business (Letterform, Inc) she owns with her fiance, Andy, and printing her very own line of foodie greeting cards (Nourishing Notes), Julie is consumed by food… or consuming food. She spends any spare time perfecting family recipes, reading through a stack of vintage Gourmet magazines she scored at a flea market, and working on the latest batch of home brewed beer with Andy. Born and raised in Michigan, Julie and Andy are currently residing in Chicago – living a midwest city life with many road trips to the countryside gathering up seasonal produce right from the source.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Why Julie chose this recipe:

“I was lucky enough to be at a Michigan farmers market during the height of squash season; it didn’t take me long to walk away with an embarrassingly large pile. I experimented with a list of recipes (pumpkin waffles, butternut soups, acorn squash risottos) before I finally decided that the best (and easiest) way to celebrate this hearty autumn veggie is to simply roast it. No acorn squash? Try a butternut, amber cup, buttercup, or delicata. No arugula? Try spinach or in the case of my own photos here – a mix of baby greens. Vegan? Just eliminate the goat cheese and you have a lovely vegan entree. Carnivore? Try serving along side a lovely roasted pork tenderloin with apples and fennel… yum! This is a very straightforward dish with few ingredients, so splurge on the best quality.”

My version of roasted squash salad recipe was loosely inspired many years ago by a recipe in Lidia’s Family Table, by Lidia Bastianich

serves 4 to 6 (depends on the appetite!)

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup hazelnuts (walnuts, pine nuts or almonds will also work)

2 acorn squash (1.5 – 2 lbs each)

2 tbsp olive oil (regular old olive oil or any vegetable oil is fine here since we’re roasting with it)

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

10 fresh sage leaves

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

6 cups arugula (I usually figure one big handful of greens per person)

6 oz. goat cheese

For the Dressing…

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff!)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (you got it, the good stuff!)

kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and put them right in the oven while it’s preheating. Give them a shake every once in a while. They should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get nice and toasty. Remove and set aside.

With a paring knife or peeler, peel the squash. No need to drive yourself crazy trying to get it all off! As close as you can get is fine. Carefully split the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Working one half at a time, place the squash cut side down on the cutting board, trim off the ends and cut regular semi-circular slices about 1 inch thick.


Place the squash slices on a baking sheet – you’ll probably need two (I usually put down a sheet of parchment paper for easy clean up). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Toss them around to make sure they are all coated with the oil and seasonings. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet so no one’s touching each other. If everyone’s on top of each other it will promote more steaming rather than browning. Take the ten sage leaves and distribute around the pan. I like to tuck them under the squash slices to ensure they do not burn during cooking. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Give them all a flip and rotation and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until you’ve got some browning and they are very tender. Remove and let cool while you assemble the rest of the salad.


Place your greens in a large serving bowl along with the extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Give them a good toss to coat. Place the lovely roasty, toasty squash slices on top of the greens. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and sprinkle on top, along with the goat cheese. Last but not least, drizzle your oh-so-glorious balsamic vinegar that you splurged on over the top. I like to bring the vinegar to the table and allow people to add more if they wish as I have many a vinegar-loving friend. However, depending how much your spent on the vinegar, this may not be a good idea!

Do ahead…

While this salad is best when the squash is still warm from the oven (giving you that wonderful contrast of warm, earthy, sweet squash against the fresh, crsip, peppery arugula) if time is a factor, you can roast the squash ahead of time (no more than a day) and refrigerate it. Just set it out about a half hour before you assemble to bring it back to room temperature. Not as good, but I’ve done it before in a pinch. However, do NOT dress the salad ahead of time, things will turn into a sloppy soupy mess. Try your best to dress the salad and assemble just before devouring.

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  • this looks really yummy! i’d love it if you had an easy ‘print just the recipe’ window without the pretty pictures, etc. perhaps there’s an easy way to do it on my computer but i’m not a computer whiz.

  • i used letterform cards as my holiday cards this year! not only is their design work amazing, julie and andy are a GREAT couple. so fun to see them here!

  • +1 to @Liane – I get the BEST recipes from D*S, but I have to do a lot of cutting and pasting in order to print them without a lot of ink-slurping photos.

    • hi guys

      you should be able to cut and paste everything at once into a text document. even if you scroll over the images, a text doc shouldn’t transfer the images. so it shouldn’t take a lot of time.

      that said, i’ve gotten an equal amount of comments from people who WANT the images to be printable in a print doc form. when we makes some changes next year i’ll look into apps that will let us give you both as an option.

      until then i hope the free weekly recipes will worth a cut and paste if you need them printed out ;)


  • Looks rather yummy! Where did you get those cute dish towels in the pic featuring multiple ingredients? :) Tres chic!

  • Amazingly Awesome! I will be trying this recipe around the holidays! Also Nourishing Notes is nothing but foodie witty greatness!

  • Wow! I can’t wait to try out this recipe. Those Nourishing Notes cards are too cute too. Bet these two are going far, far, far, far in life!

  • If the dish is delish as the photography, it must be manna from heaven! What a talented duo you are. Of course you are from Michigan!!

  • Wow, great recipe. You could also try adding some honey to the dressing as that goes amazingly well with hazelnuts and vinegar and everything you have in this delicious salad. Thank you!

  • Love this recipe. And i love it with the roasted pork tenderloin. The Hazelnuts in the salad really compliment the pork.

    Made it for my boyfriend and he’s a fan!

  • WOW! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave the comments everyone. I really love sharing food – if I could make this dish and send it to you all I would!

    To address some comments & answer some questions…

    Jenny : the dishtowels in the photo are somewhat hidden as they are proto-types for the REAL towels I’m printing right now! They’ll be available in my etsy shop soon (good eye jenny!)

    Susan C : Michigan will always be home to us :)

    Gretel : Thanks for the tip! I am a huge lover of local honey and have quite a collection going so that will be a perfect addition.

    Amy : glad it was a success!

    Thank you all so much again for your kind words — happiest of holidays to you!

  • Julie and Andy as you know, i do not like the computer and i only eat because i have too. for some reason i checked out Design*Sponge and was inspired by you both. i may move beyond my treasured cereal bowl. Julie, congrats on being so talented. Andy,congrats on the fiance part. you are both very smiley. when exactly is squash season? peace and plenty Stuart

  • Julie’s cards are my absolute favorite on etsy. Her Nourishing Notes make the best addition to a gift or any special occassion. Very excited to see Julie on Design Sponge. Way to go!!

  • This looked so yummy I had to make it for dinner this week. It was so delicious! I substituted the hazelnuts for pine nuts because that’s what I had on hand. yum.

  • Looks like a great recipe. I might try it for my New Year’s Eve party and I think I’m going to add sliced, roated bosc pears to it. They’re wonderful on a salad and a really nice companion to squash.

  • Everyone’s continued words of excitement for the humble squash warms my heart — thank you for embracing it!

    Jeannene : Thanks! I should note that Andy (my partner in crime) is responsible for the photography. He seems to think he just “shoots for fun” and doesn’t want to do it professionally…I’m working on him!

    Stuart! : Big high five for using the computer to post a comment. I feel so honored. :) As for Andy and I being an inspiration…. speechless!

    Squash season… in the midwestern US I would go ahead and say September through November. They keep really well (if kept cold and in a non-humid environment) so you should be able to still find them at the farmers market for awhile.

    Can Andy and i register for gifts at your shop??!

    Remy! : Thank you so much! We always love shipping our cards to you!

    Morgan : Nice substitution! Way to take the recipe and make its flexibility work for you.

    Miriam : Kudos for the thought about the pears! They would be lovely indeed. Let me know how it goes!

    Liz ! : I doubt it will be life changing, however if it IS… I get full credit, right? :)

    Thanks so much everyone! I look forward to hearing more successes (or messes should they happen) and any substitutions or variations that you try. You have all helped to make this a happy holiday indeed!

  • My sister and I made this salad for Christmas dinner and it was my absolute favorite dish on the table. I could eat this everyday!

    We also added yams to our salad. See, we had cut yams into 3/4 in. squares, seasoned them, then baked them but forgot about the poor guys in the oven so the bottoms got burnt. We salvaged what we could and threw them in the salad and, oh my, what a treat!

  • So happy to hear all the successes in the kitchen with this recipe!

    Jennifer : Way to save the yams! Sounds like they were a lovely addition.

    Asia : The little bowls were a gift from Andy (he’s a keeper) from the MoMA store in NYC many years ago. I just tried looking for them online and haven’t found them yet. If / when I do I’ll post it here.

  • Congrats and well done, Julie! I can’t wait to make this dish sometime – I love squash (and Michiganders ;) Hope to see you in the craft show circuit again soon!

  • Discard the seeds? Are you crazy? Why not roast them? Then you can eat them as is or, imagine that, use them in your salad!

  • Hi, It doesn’t print or apparently allow cut and paste. Shows the pictures but just grey where the recipe details are. Any clues??

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