Today we are presenting you a healthy, delicious, fancy-looking and colorful salad – Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad. By adding just a bit of maple syrup to the butternut squash, you will ensure a special kind of sweetness. Add some cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a touch of crunchiness.
FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD:
- 1/2 small red onion — diced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 small 2-pound butternut squash — peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock — or vegetable stock or water
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted pepitas — pumpkin seeds, or roughly chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme — or 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar — or white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the red onion in a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside. (This keeps the onion’s flavor but helps soften its harsh bite…and endless onion aftertaste.)
- Place the butternut squash in the center of a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss to evenly coat, then spread the squash into a single layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the squash is baking, bring the broth (or water) and quinoa to a boil in a medium pan. If you are using water, add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand with the lid on for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then transfer to a large serving bowl.
- In a small bowl or large measuring cup (or a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid), combine the dressing ingredients: olive oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle enough of the dressing over the warm quinoa to moisten it, then stir to combine.
- Scrape the roasted butternut squash and any pan juices into the bowl with the quinoa. Add the cranberries, pepitas, and thyme. Drain the red onion then add it to the bowl. Toss to combine, adding more dressing as desired. (I like to reserve a little of the dressing for adding to leftovers.) Serve warm or at room temperature.
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