This fall quinoa has it all – butternut squash, garlicky kale, tart and sweet cranberries and the crunch of toasted pecans. Make yourself a batch and grab a bowl and fork!
I used dried cranberries and pecans because of accessibility, but you could also incorporate pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts. Divine.
Lately, several people have asked what I’m craving these days (seeing that I look like I swallowed a pumpkin and all). The answer? See above – anything and everything to do with fall.
This feels much more “normal” than what I craved with my last baby – jalapenos. I couldn’t get enough of them! So strange.
Anyway, this quinoa makes a perfect side dish to this Porkchop and Apple-Bacon Sauekraut slow cooker meal. Then it becomes an easy salad to grab for the rest of the week (it makes a large batch so plan to feed a crowd or enjoy leftovers for a few days).
Quinoa is a unique vegetarian food because it is a complete protein (meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids – those that can not be made by the body). So, dig in!
Preparing for marriage:
Fall Quinoa (Side Dish or Salad)
1 medium-sized butternut squash (peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces)
4-6 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
1 bunch kale (stems removed, chopped)
2 cups quinoa (rinsed and drained in a fine-mesh sieve)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or pomegranate seeds)
1/2 cup toasted pecans (or toasted pine nuts)
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Spread the butternut squash into a single layer in a shallow pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well and roast for 25 minutes (or until some of the squash starts getting browned on the edges).
2. In a large pan (I use a le-creuset style pot that will fit all the ingredients), heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add half of the sliced garlic and stir around the pan til softer but not browned (about 2-3 minutes). Up the heat to high and quickly stir in 1/2 cup water and kale. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer kale and garlic to a bowl for later.
3. In the same pot you used for the kale, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the remaining garlic and stir around the pan for 1-2 minutes. Add in the quinoa and cook toast for a couple of minutes stirring around the pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit (covered) for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
4. Toss the squash, kale and lemon juice in with the quinoa. Add cranberries. Add the pecans if you are serving the entire dish at once. If you plan to eat it through the week, add them in each time so they stay crunchy. Pine nuts should be fine added in the beginning if you are using those. Enjoy warm or cold (you can toss with a little extra lemon juice and salt for zing if eaten as a salad).