Warm Winter Salad w/ Quinoa, Kale, & Acorn Squash

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Salads aren’t just for summer! You’ll want to curl up with a big bowl of this gut warming quinoa and roasted acorn squash salad all winter long.

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I’m that weirdo that actually likes a slightly soggy salad. Please tell me there are more of my kind out there… anyone?

So naturally, I was intrigued by the idea of making a warm salad perfect for fall, winter, and really anytime of year; because this salad tastes delicious hot, room temperature, and even cold! The warmth from the roasted acorn squash and quinoa wilt the kale every so slightly, and intensifies the flavors from the green onion, dried cranberries, and tangy vinaigrette.

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The vinaigrette tastes almost like an upscale honey-mustard. It’s just a simple mixture of white balsamic, olive oil, real maple syrup, and Dijon mustard. I love using white (also labeled “golden balsamic”) because it has the same taste as regular balsamic, just slightly sweeter and not as pungent. The brand of vinegar and olive oil that I like to use is “Star”, because their products are amazing quality and I can find them in just about any grocery store. And for the quinoa, I’m obsessed with Bob’s Red Mill products, and they have the most gorgeous tri-colored quinoa, but you could of course swap it out for regular quinoa.

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Now time for a little fun fact about Acorn squash– I used to think it was the most pointless vegetable ever grown. It’s impossible to peel the thing with all it’s ridges, so how the heck are you suppose to eat it?! Well, turns out you don’t even have to peel the dang thing! The tough skin actually turns out to be tender, edible, and very tasty!

So now you know. Acorn squash, not so pointless after all.

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This hearty salad makes 2 huge individual portions, or you could even toss together all the ingredient (minus the squash) and serve it as 4-6 side portions and have the roasted squash as the vegetable side as well.

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This belly-warming salad is loaded with an array of textures and flavors, so even if you love meat, I promise you won’t even notice it’s missing! Just use a steak knife to cut into that hearty squash, and by the second bite, you’ll understand what the true meaning of love tastes like. This is how I like to go about eating this salad– holding a slice of squash in one hand, and a fork full of quinoa in the other, shoveling both into my mouth as fast as I can. Let me just warn you, it’s not cute, but soooo worth it.

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Warm Winter Salad w/ Quinoa, Kale, & Acorn Squash
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You'll want to curl up with a big bowl of this gut-warming quinoa and roasted acorn squash salad all winter long. With crunchy-toasted pumpkin seeds, sweet-chewy cranberries, and tender kale, this hearty salad will have you coming back for one bite after another!
Warm Winter Salad w/ Quinoa, Kale, & Acorn Squash
  • 1
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  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
You'll want to curl up with a big bowl of this gut-warming quinoa and roasted acorn squash salad all winter long. With crunchy-toasted pumpkin seeds, sweet-chewy cranberries, and tender kale, this hearty salad will have you coming back for one bite after another!
Servings
2big salads
Servings
2big salads
Ingredients
Servings: big salads
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: big salads
Units:
Instructions
For the Quinoa
  1. Pour vegetable stock and salt into a medium sauce pot and bring to boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, add in quinoa and mix. Place on a tightly fitted lid and reduce heat to low; simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
For the Vinaigrette
  1. Pour all ingredients into a jar, tightly place on lid, and shake until thoroughly mixed; alternatively, you can add all ingredients, except olive oil, into a bowl and slowly whisk in oil until mixed. Set aside until ready to use. Shake/whisk well before use.
For the Salad
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a sharp knife, cut off both ends of the squash, then in half vertically. Scrape out seeds and slice into about 1/2" moons. Place onto a sheet pan and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Flip over and repeat on the other side. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Once all ingredients are prepared, distribute quinoa between 2 big bowls. Top with remaining ingredients, evenly distributing between the two bowls, then drizzle with vinaigrette to taste. This salad can be eaten warm, room temperature, or chilled.
Recipe Notes

For the kale, remove the stems and discard. Massage the leaves until they darken in color (this tenderizes the kale), then thinly julianne.

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