I came home from the DC Food Blogger’s Happy Hour to find out that eating in instead has been nominated for TheKitchn’s 2013 Best Recipe Blog award. How delightful! Please vote before February 8th at 11:59 PM Eastern Time by clicking here: http://www.thekitchn.com/best-recipe-blog-the-homies-2013-183570! Of course, I’d love it if you vote for me!
Despite the excitement of the nomination, I planned to make a simple dinner since I knew I’d be getting home a little later from happy hour. I opted for a quick winter salad. I drew my inspiration from Food & Wine’s November 2012 Salad of the Month. Their recipe uses sweet potatoes, but I had some leftover roasted butternut squash in my fridge so I used squash instead. To remove the bite from the raw onions, I rinsed the red onions first, then marinated them in apple cider vinegar while I put together the salad. I only one Grannysmith and one Gala apple on hand, so I went those. This is a quick and easy salad to put together and a great way to use leftover roasted squash. If you have to roast the squash first, it will add about an hour to your prep time (45 mins for roasting and 15 mins for cooling). For instructions on roasting squash, see my Butternut Squash Lasagna recipe.
QUINOA SALAD WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLES (adapted from Food & Wine Magazine)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup quinoa
approx. 2 cups butternut squash, roasted, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons, apple cider vinegar, divided
2 medium apples (use whatever you have on hand), cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 bag (approx. 8 cups) spring greens or leafy green salad mix (no lettuce!)
freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the sliced onions with cold water. Pat dry, then place in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Coat the onions with the vinegar, cover, and set aside at room temperature.
In a small pot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the quinoa and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast the quinoa.
Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer the quinoa according to directions, until soft about 13-15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat and let stand it for 10 minutes, then fluff the quinoa. Let the quinoa cool. To expedite the cooling process, you can spread the cooked quinoa out on a baking sheet or jelly roll pan and stick it in the fridge.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining olive oil with the remaining apple cider vinegar. Drain the vinegar from the onions. In a large bowl, combine salad greens, quinoa, roasted squash, apples, parsley, and red onions. Toss with the oil and cidar dressing, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy! (and go vote for me!)