Let's rock this year. Let's do it right. Let's soak up some sunshine and see the world. And maybe watch some Netflix.
And let's kick it off with a ridiculously good quinoa salad.
I had a cooking class two days before Christmas with some of my most favorite girls. And this was on the menu. I have come to love this recipe so much that I thought I would share it with you. I'm all about sharing these days.
So, let's get this new year off on the right foot and bust this out!
Quinoa. It's the super food of the Andes. And it is so good for you, packed with protein and other really awesome things.
All you do is measure, rinse, and cook it in water. Bring it to a boil, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Once it is cooked, let it cool and fluff with a fork.
Fork fluffing is totally a real thing.
Butternut squash is a hidden gem in the vegetable aisle. It only takes 25 minutes for it to roast up to caramelized deliciousness. To cut into cubes, you:
1. cut off ends
2. cut in half
3. scoop out seeds
SIDE NOTE: You'll want a really sharp paring knife to help you do this. The skin is particularly tough but you are totally tougher.
Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pop them in the oven for 25 minutes or until sizzling and soft to the touch.
The heat brings out their sweetness, making it the perfect compliment to a hearty salad.
Once your quinoa is cooked and fluffed, pour it into a large bowl.Give it a taste, it has a nutty richness to it. Fantastic.
So, let's add the beautiful buttnernut squash...
...and chop up a few extras like dried cranberries, walnuts and sharp cheese.
Trust me. The supporting cast is rocking it.
Lastly, mix up your dressing. It is equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey (or maple syrup). Add a dash of salt and pepper and pour over salad.
Toss it around. You're the boss.
And guess what?
YOU HAVE DONE IT!!!
2014 is already winning!
Yep. That will totally do.
It can be a meal. It can be a side dish. It can be your midnight snack.
Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad:
2 cups quinoa, rinsed
1 small butternut squash, peeled, sliced and diced
2/3 cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2/3 cup sharp cheese (Fontina, Swiss, or Blue are great choices)
salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey or real maple syrup
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients for vinaigrette in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.
Pour 2 cups of rinsed quinoa into a large saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Pour into a large bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, place cubed butternut squash on a foil-lined baking sheet and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until sizzling and soft to the touch. Let cool for 15 minutes. Add to the bowl of quinoa along with chopped walnuts, cranberries and cheese. Stir. Add vinaigrette and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper if needed.
This is best at room temperature but can also be served cold. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Serves 6-8.
**Note: If you want to add more dressing, go for it! Cheese? Cranberries? Nuts? Add as much as you want. This recipe is more of a guideline. Spruce up your salad any way you choose! Enjoy, dear friends.