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Roasted Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad

I take the train to and from work so I’m generally reading the latest issue of Food & Wine or Bon Appetit during those 40 minutes each day. I discovered the following recipe by Michael Symon from the March 2010 issue of F&W. Of course, I adapted it immediately as I didn’t have a Delicata Squash. I also wanted to give it a little zing, so I minced a dried red chili and added that as well.

Quinoa is definitely a superfood:  a grain-like seed, it’s a “complete” protein containing all eight essential amino acids.  Another plus is that  it cooks much more quickly than most grains.

Instead of stuffing the salad into the squash, I diced the squash, roasted it and tossed it in with the other ingredients.

1 Butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into ¾ inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 Pink Lady apple, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
¼ red bell pepper, roasted and cut into ½ inch dice
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 ounces arugula (2 cups)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss squash with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the raisins and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and let cool.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5. Add the dressing to the quinoa along with the apple, carrot, bell pepper, shallot, garlic, ginger, mint, and parsley and toss well. Add the arugula and toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

The quinoa can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature and add the arugula just before serving.