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
- 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
- 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
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 400°F for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Stir at least once halfway through.
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.
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.
Step Five: Enjoy!! 😀 Serve topped with extra chopped pecans and/or hemp seeds, or over a bed of greens, if desired.
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. 🙂 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.
PS: Go Bills! We won! I Billeve!! Perfect gift for my dad’s birthday, thank you Bills! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤