This quinoa with roasted butternut squash is one of my favourite salads to make in the winter months. It is great for feeding a crowd. The dish also looks really pretty with its combination of orange butternut squash and ruby red pomegranate seeds,. My summer quinoa is all whites and greens. When I was catering in Darien, I included both on the menu all the time. Quinoa covers so many bases. It is vegetarian, full of protein so can be viewed as a main course, and pairs well with both fish and meat.
To be helpful I have given suggested quantities for the things to be added to the quinoa but to be honest how it works is the butternut squash is whatever amount is being sold in the pre cut package, the pecans are generally a whole bag of candied pecan from Trader Joe’s, unless I have already used some and then its whatever is left, the pomegranates are again either a whole container unless I plan to use them for something else etc.
The key with quinoa is to add plenty of bits otherwise it can be a little dull on its own.
- 1 cup/7oz/100g of red quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups or 2 large handfuls of butternut squash, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 cup or small handful of cranberries
- 1/4 cup or small handful of candied pecans
- 1/4 cup or small handful of pomegranate seeds
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups or large handfuls of kale, stems removed and cut into large pieces
- one ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
- olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar ( a flavored vinegar such as pomegranate would be great here, I loved Olivetti in Darien, and I am devastated to see it has closed.)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F
Toss the butternut squash in olive oil and roast in a shallow roasting tin until fully cooked and starting to caramelize, 25-30 mins. Leave to cool. Turn oven off.
Toss kale in olive oil with a little salt and arrange in a single layer on a roasting tin and pop into cooling oven. until kale has crisped. Check after 20 mins.
In a medium pan add rinsed quinoa to 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed, around 15 mins. Turn off heat and leave for a further 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.
Make balsamic dressing by combining 6 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, add the mustard and season. Whisk until combined, then pour over the cooled quinoa.
Mix the quinoa with the cranberries, scallions, pecans, pear and pomegranate seeds, reserving a few of each ingredients for garnish. Top with roasted kale!
If you try this or any other recipe on my website I would love feedback. If you like this recipe feel free to pass it on.