Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry and Power Greens Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

photo 3 (2)

Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Power Greens Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Whew! That’s a mouthful right there.

If you ever peruse my Instagram photos, you would know that I got a pretty legit haul from the farm stand last week: local butternut squash and Cape Cod cranberries included. This weekend, I wanted to throw together a “one pot” meal that I could eat for lunches during this short week instead of my usual salad. I combined a few of my favorite things: roasted butternut squash and red onion, fresh cranberries, power greens (baby spinach, baby kale and swiss chard) and a really vibrant dressing to pull it all together with fresh orange juice and zest. The orange vinaigrette dressing in and of itself is really delicious, and it elevates the dish past a thrown together (fridge clean out-esque) veggie salad with quinoa. To add some crunch and extra protein, I added hemp seeds and chopped pecans. I bet almonds or hazelnuts would also be amazing here, as well. If you’re looking for an addition to your Thanksgiving meal, this would be a pretty solid contender. It’s delicious, packed with flavor, eye appeal (lots of colorful veggies!) and with just enough of a twist to keep it interesting, but still accessible enough to please a wide variety of palates. You’ve got a serious crowd pleaser right here. And furthermore, it’s loaded with antioxidants and vitamins (so you can feed the ones you love the things that will make their bodies happy).

Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry and Power Greens Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 5 oz container of power greens (baby spinach, baby kale and swiss chard)
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Dressing:

  • 1 large navel orange
  • zest of 1/2 the orange
  • 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: Roast the squash. Place the butternut squash and chopped onion into a shallow baking dish (large enough so the squash cubes are in one layer), toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400Β°F for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Stir at least once halfway through.
photo 1

The roasted squash should be tender enough to stick a fork in one of the pieces but not mushy.

Step Two: Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa. Boil 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Once the water is boiling, add the quinoa, cover and turn the pot down to low. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, then add the cranberries to the saucepan, stirring to incorporate. Cover the pot and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat, keeping it covered.
Step Three: Make the dressing. Combine the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl (or in the blender). Whisk (or blend) until smooth. While whisking, add the olive oil slowly to create an emulsion. Transfer to a container for storage.
photo 2

Use a hand grater to zest half of the orange. You can zest the whole thing and place the other half of the orange zest into a plastic baggie and stick it in the to use at a later time for other recipes.

photo 3

I had white wine vinegar and used that, but (regular) balsamic vinegar would be great here too. I always have jars of chopped and minced garlic on hand in my fridge, so I just added 1 tsp of chopped garlic (the equivalent of one minced clove of garlic).

Step Four: Roughly chop the power greens and place into a large bowl. Add the warm quinoa mixture on top of the greens and toss together to allow the greens to wilt. Once the squash is done roasting, add the squash and onion to the salad and toss to mix. Add the hemp seeds and pecans, and dress the salad to taste with the orange vinaigrette dressing. I used about half of the dressing, and stored the other half in the refrigerator for use on other green salads.
photo 5

It’s important to keep the quinoa covered and warm so that it wilts the greens in the salad.

photo 1 (3)

Here is what mine looked like after all the ingredients were added. πŸ™‚ YUM!

Step Five: Enjoy!! πŸ˜€ Serve topped with extra chopped pecans and/or hemp seeds, or over a bed of greens, if desired.
photo 5 (2)

I served my salad over a bed of greens and topped with extra pecans. Delicious!

The blend of sweet, savory and tart proves to be a winning combination in this salad. The sweetness of the butternut squash is offset by the tart cranberries and the zesty orange dressing. The greens add a nice balance to the flavors, and the nuts/hemp seeds provide a great crunch to the texture of the salad. Overall, it is an amazing one pot meal that your family (and you!) will love. I am pretty stoked to have this for lunch today, not gonna lie. πŸ™‚ Soooo many delicious and nutritious things packed into this one dish – it’s a win all around.

Hope all of you are having a calm, stress-free day today as we near Thanksgiving.

With Warmth,

L

PS: Go Bills! We won! I Billeve!! Perfect gift for my dad’s birthday, thank you Bills! ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

19 thoughts on “Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry and Power Greens Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

    • Thank you! I just kind of threw together some of my favorite things; we usually make a pretty stellar butternut squash/spinach/cranberry dish for Thanksgiving, so I took those components and added quinoa and a rockin’ dressing to top it all off. It was superb! Let me know how you like it if you try it out.

      Like

      • No worries πŸ™‚ Lot’s of lovely textures and flavours. It’s definitely on the to do list, so I’ll keep you posted! I have another squash salad recipe I might put up at some point; this one has legumes. I love butternut squash and I haven’t come across a bad recipe yet!

        Like

  1. Thank you for this fantastic recipe! I wanted to bring something healthy to Thanksgiving with my family, to even out the pure decadence of kabocha squash fudge! This is perfect!

    Like

  2. Sounds delicious. Having lunch already prepared stops the ‘killer junk food at work’ trap. A small win for the thighs and the hip pocket! Maybe if I ate your salad I might even be able to run…..?

    Like

    • If you can find frozen ones, that would be ideal, but if not, maybe craisins (they are much sweeter so it would change the flavor of the dish)? The cranberries bring a lot of brightness and tartness to the taste of the dish, so any other sour berries you can find. Or, try another fruit with tartness: sliced citris fruit (orange), diced sour apple (granny smith) or just get creative!! πŸ˜€ hope that helps!! Enjoy it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Friday Faaaaves! | Bubbles and booyah

  4. Pingback: Mediterranean Quinoa Power UP Salad | Bubbles and booyah

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s