Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is all the rage right now. Why? It is packed with iron, fiber, protein, and it’s gluten-free. It is light, yet still hearty. How is that possible? You can use it in salads such as this, or make it for breakfast in place of oatmeal. I haven’t tried that, but I’ll let you know when I do. You can find quinoa almost everywhere now. I purchased a box at Trader Joe’s….it was even organic. It is reminiscent of couscous, but it’s not even in the grain family. I read where it is in the rhubarb family? That threw me, too.
This Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is adapted from a salad that I had at an open house at a Dailey Method studio. Have you ever heard of it? Check it out at www.daileymethod.com. I take classes there every now and then so that I can eat more. It’s a great workout! Now, back to the salad. The owner of the studio made a salad like this at the open house she was having. I absolutely loved it. I did not get the recipe, but she told me it had a honey vinaigrette in it, so I went from there.
I have to tell you, I’m crazy about butternut squash. Mostly I roast it, make soups with it, or eat it in ravioli. Now I use it in salads. I actually enjoy peeling and chopping the butternut squash when I have time. When I don’t, I buy it already pre-chopped. Trader Joe’s and most supermarkets sell it, which is a huge time saver. I thought this salad needed candied walnuts so I made some, only to find it was sweet enough without it because the vinaigrette is somewhat sweet as well.. I think toasted walnuts would work best, and that’s what I’m going to use next time. If you like things sweet, you can find the candied walnut recipe here: Dawn’s Candied Walnuts.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- ½ small butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into ½" chunks, or (1) package pre-chopped butternut squash cut into ½" chunks (should be about 2 cups once cut into ½" chunks)
- 4 scallions, chopped
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup toasted or candied walnuts
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Place butternut squash in a large pot and fill it with water until the squash is completely covered. Place the lid on and bring pot to a boil over high heat until the water comes to a boil. Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium, cooking at a gentle boil until squash is fork tender but not mushy, about 15 min.
- While squash is cooking, prepare quinoa according to package directions. When all of the water has been absorbed, remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl. Cool slightly.
- Rinse and drain butternut squash. Add the squash, golden raisins, and scallions to the quinoa.
- Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, and salt with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it is emulsified. Pour over the quinoa mixture and stir until well-combined.
- Top with the toasted or candied walnuts.
- To toast walnuts, place in a large skillet and cook over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. Careful....these burn quickly!