Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quinoa Harvest Salad


Pardon the poor quality picture-Remember? I broke my "good" camera. Ugg.


Harvest Quinoa Salad
This is my quest to be 1) More Adventurous 2) Find more healthy meatless dinner/lunches and 3) Cook a Butternut Squash.

How'd it go? 
Pretty good. 
After cutting the Butternut Squash, the recipe with done in a flash! 
*For a Step-by-Step on how to cut and roast a butternut squash, CLICK HERE<-----. It's the link I used.*
I had not previously ever eaten, let alone, cut and cook sir squash of butternut (har har, I couldn't resist). 
So, doing so was a bit of a challenge. 
Was it difficult? 
Neh. 
Yes, it did take a few minutes, but not too bad, really. 
I didn't even have a good vegetable peeler to use, just a knife. 

How'd the butternut squash taste?
Well, don't let the bright orange flavor fool you....it tastes less like a sweet potato that I thought it would. 
It taste more like a summer squash with the color of a sweet potato.
It was firmer than a sweet potato, too, but cooks faster in the oven (I thought). 
So, in my opinion, a butternut squash tastes kind of like a summer squash, but more "fall-ish." It's also firmer not so squishy
I liked it, I'd cook it again. 

Oh, yeah, this was also my first time cooking Quinoa.
Very Easy to do. 
Taste good, too-If you like grains such as Couscous, Oats, etc, you'll like this. 
Quinoa is great for you, too! I think it has 8 amino acids, 170 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein per serving.  Sign me up!

Okay, Okay, I digress my in depth analysis of Sir Squash of Butternut (tee hee). 
Here's the ACTUAL RECIPE from Two Peas in a Pod blog. CLICK HERE for the original recipe.

Here's the recipe as I made it (i.e. Yes, I deviate from the recipe provided by Two Peas in a Pod). :)

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
Olive oil + 1 Tbs Maple Syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning squash
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
 2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of dried cranberries and shelled pistachios (I found the mix already made at Fresh Market)

For the Citrus Honey Dressing:
Juice of 1 large oranges
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place butternut squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Toss until squash is well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 30 minutes, turning once, until tender.
2. While the butternut squash is roasting, cook the quinoa. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool quinoa cool to room temperature.
*You will know when the Quinoa is finished cooking when all the water is absorbed, the grain has turned  transparent, and you can see the spiral-like germ.
3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, butternut squash, dried cranberries, and pistachios. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, zest, olive oil, and honey. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle over quinoa salad. Toss until ingredients are well dressed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

When I first took a bite, I wasn't 100% sold. But the longer this set in the fridge and the more I ate, the more I liked it. I would make it again. Healthy, delicious, and nutritious!


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