I am always throwing “salads” together, yes some that don’t include any greens, for a quick lunch, side dish, or quick main meal. I like to use the flavors of the seasons and what I have on hand. I decided to make this quinoa based salad with red quinoa as I had it on hand and I thought the color went well with the butternut squash. You can use regular quinoa if that is what you have on hand. You can enjoy this as is for a main dish, on top of a bed of greens, as a side dish, or it would even make a delicious dish to take to a pot luck or family get together.
Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
Makes 4 main dish portions, or 6-8+ side dish portions
1 c red quinoa
2 c diced butternut squash (about the size of a game dice)
1/2 leek, green and white parts only chopped (about 1 c chopped)
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/4 c sliced almonds, optional
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (Cinnamon, tarragon, rosemary are also delicious and can be added if you are looking for more flavor, sometimes I like it simple and sometimes I had just a hint of one or more of these flavors. Be careful not to add too much to overpower the dish.)
Cook quinoa per directions using water or vegetable broth. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet, lined with foil if desired, with coconut oil spray. Spread out squash and spray lightly with coconut oil and bake for 15 minutes or until tender. Toss quinoa with cranberries and leeks and cool in the refrigerator. Once the squash has cooled toss in with the quinoa and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss almonds in with the salad now or you can sprinkle them over the top when serving. Store in the refrigerator until cooled completely and ready to serve. Enjoy!