I first had quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) a few years ago at a work potluck. I think it’s become more mainstream since then, and we have slowly introduced it into our diet in rotation with our regular rice, couscous or barley side dishes. I love grain salads in summer, and the first time we made this Jeff and I both knew we had an absolute hit. I’ve made this for four batches of company this summer, and the rave reviews keep coming. It was, therefore, pretty easy to name this recipe our #1 salad of Summer 2012.
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash, Basil, Cranberries and Lemon Vinaigrette
adapted from Sweet Sugar Bean blog
serves 6-8 as a side dish
1 small** butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1/2 chunks
~ 2 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup quinoa, rinsed very well
1 3/4 cups water or chicken broth
1 cup pecans or almonds, chopped and toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 green onions chopped
handful of fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
juice and zest of 1 lemon (to make 2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 *F. Peel and chop the sqaush, then toss it into a shallow casserole. Add olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper; mix well so each piece of squash is coated. Roast for 20 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle with brown sugar. Return to oven for another 10 minutes or until squash is cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. **If the squash is large, I cube the whole thing and freeze half.
To cook quinoa, rinse it very well, drain it, and place it in a saucepan with water/chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine cooled cooked quinoa and roasted squash (along with syrup created by the brown sugar) along with the nuts, cranberries, and chopped green onions. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, basil and maple syrup. Pour over salad and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature, or cold. This salad keeps very well in the fridge for a few days- if it’s not gobbled up before then.
I hope you enjoyed our five favourite salads of Summer 2012 . Have a great long weekend!