This delicious and healthy salad is easy to make and will brighten your mood during a dull winter day. It’s so vibrant and full of flavor that you will forget it’s good for you! Make a batch on Sunday afternoon to have a healthy lunch options all week long.
I’ve been slacking lately on my blog posts, not because I’m being lazy or not cooking, but because I’ve had my hands full lately! I recently got a new camera, which I am slowly learning to use to make my photos better – hopefully you will be able to tell the difference in many upcoming posts.
Anyway, though I have been slacking on posts, I have been keeping to my new year’s resolution of having healthy lunch options for myself. I’m really excited to share this one, as I think it would make a great side dish as well as being a great lunch. It’s also really good for you, but when you taste it you will forget that it’s actually healthy!
I love quinoa (I know, I know, I love everything); it’s a huge trend in healthy eating these days, making it much easier to find in the grocery store than it was a few years ago. Like all grains, it’s very versatile – use it in soups, as a side dish, and like I’m using it here in my winter quinoa salad.
I love any type of salad, but especially one using a hearty whole-grain because it keeps me full throughout the afternoon. I think sometimes it’s hard during the winter to put together salads because the fruits and vegetables aren’t always looking their best. However, I think a lot of us forget that there is produce that is best during fall and winter.
Butternut squash and apples are easily found during the season, and are perfect in this salad. I love the combo of the sweet apples and creamy butternut squash tossed with the nutty quinoa, and topped with pine nuts, feta, and a deliciously tangy curry-maple dressing. Toss in some fresh mint, and you will perk right up on a gloomy winter day!
This salad holds up well in the fridge, which makes its perfect for lunch throughout the week, but would also make a great side dish to a piece of grilled salmon or chicken – grilled indoors of course! I hope you’ll try this unique salad and enjoy it as much as I do.
- 1 Cup Quinoa
- 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
- Pinch Salt and Pepper
- 1¾ Cups Water
- 2 Cups Butternut Squash, small dice
- ¼ Cup Pine Nuts
- 1 Apple, sliced into thin matchsticks
- ¼ Cup Feta Cheese, crumbled (omit for vegan)
- ¼ Cup Mint, finely chopped
- 1 Shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest, from 1 orange
- 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice, from half an orange
- 2 Tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 5 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Combine the quinoa, olive oil, salt, pepper, and water in a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium low so it’s simmering, and cook uncovered for 13-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425º and on a large baking sheet toss the butternut squash with just enough olive oil to coat; season with salt and pepper and bake for 18 minutes. Take the butternut squash out of the oven and mix in the pine nuts; return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes or until the nuts are a light brown. Cool completely.
- In a small mason jar add all of the ingredients for the dressing, top with the lid and shake very well to combine.
- In a large bowl add the cooled quinoa, butternut squash mixture, apple, feta, and mint. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.