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Recipe: Butternut Squash Grain Salad with Pomegranate Citrus Dressing

IMG_3719.jpegUp until yesterday (December 21st) I had no clue what I was bringing to our Christmas Day feast.  I’m historically assigned with the salad and vegetable for every holiday we have and I usually add in a grain dish.  This year I’m making this grain salad, a whole roasted cauliflower, and a mixed green salad.  We enjoy ourselves on the holidays but tend to stay relatively healthy with our dinner choices.  This is just how we like to eat.  Now for dessert, we go all out with pies, flan, ice cream, cookies and then bedtime.

For this grain salad, I used quinoa since I have a gluten-intolerant friend joining me this weekend but I will likely use farro on the big day.  I love citrus dressings for holiday meals.  With loads of salty and savory foods on the table, a hint of subtle sweetness rounds out the meal.  This dish can go alongside beef, chicken, fish or your favorite vegan protein (tofu, seitan, tempeh, legumes).  I actually had it with a veggie burger over mixed greens and it was damn good.

I used pomegranate vinegar which you can find at most markets and definitely at Trader Joes.   Feel free to swap it out for apple cider, balsamic and champagne vinegar.  I have not tried it but I got a feeling it will be good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp orange zest (about 1 medium orange)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 375F.  Chop the butternut squash into small cubes and coat with olive oil in a bowl.  Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes or until slightly caramelized.  Cook 1 cup quinoa according to the package, ensuring you rinse the quinoa first.
  2. While the quinoa and squash are cooking, make the dressing.  Zest the orange first.  In a large bowl add olive oil and the zest together.  Using the same orange, squeeze out 1/4 cup of juice (buy 2 in case it is not a juicy orange).  Add juice, vinegar, shallot, garlic, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.  Adjust acid, salt and sweet as needed.
  3. Allow quinoa and squash to cool about 10-15 minutes.  Fold cooked quinoa, squash with the dressing.  Next add in the parsley, nuts, and cranberries.  Taste and adjust for salt as needed.IMG_3719.jpeg

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