In the dead of winter I’m not in the mood for a traditional cold salad. After a long day I want to sit down to a warm meal, but I’m also trying to make healthy plant based dishes so when I saw a recipe for a warm quinoa salad on Pinterest I wanted to give it a go. All of the ingredients made a delicious combination, but I made a few changes to the original. Instead of sautéing the ingredients in a pan, I wanted the crispiness of roasted vegetables because I like cooking veggies that way the best so the squash and kale were still crispy and tender inside. I always have to roast more kale than needed because I always have to eat some right off the pan while it’s still super crunchy. Yum! It gave the salad a nice texture and with the craisins and pecans it was a great mixture with the blandness of quinoa. Instead of their dressing, I made up my own because I love the flavor of Dijon mustard and maple syrup with the savory squash so I thought it would be perfect for this salad and I didn’t want to use that much olive oil. It came together really quickly, due to Trader Joe’s amazing pre- cleaned and diced veggies and frozen quinoa, so it was a great weeknight meal and it was packed with flavor.
Warm Butternut Squash and Kale Salad
1 bag of diced butternut squash
1 bag frozen quinoa, TJ’s ( 2 cups?)
Half a large bag of kale
2 tbsp Craisins
Small handful of halved raw pecans, toasted
1/4 red onion, diced
Maple Mustard Dressing
I’m approximating because I tend to just add things together until it tastes how I planned for it to, so taste as you go. It was sweet and slightly spicy.
3 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Water until thin enough for dressing
1. Preheat oven to 375* and spray a baking sheet. Spread cubed Butternut Squash on half and then top with a little sprayed olive oil, salt and pepper. Put it in the oven to start cooking. (10-15 min)
2. Cook frozen quinoa in the microwave and let sit.
3. Mix all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
4. Add kale to the other half of the baking sheet and spray with olive oil, and a little bit of salt and pepper. Bake vegetables for another 10 minutes.
5. When vegetables are crispy and cooked through, combine all ingredients and drizzle about 4 tsp of dressing and mix together. Eat while warm.
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Fresh salad that has all the right ingredients!