Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash and Peppers
Active Time: 25 minutes / Cook Time: 25-30 minutes / Total Time: 30-35 minutes, plus overnight soaking of quinoa if possible
Makes 4 servings
Nutrition Corner: Olive Oil Uses
Because olive oil has a low smoke point, it easily oxidizes (goes bad) when exposed to heat. Consuming damaged oils has negative effects on our health. For this reason, olive oil is perfect in salad dressings, cold soups, and drizzled on or added to hot dishes after cooking, but should not be heated.
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 1 large or two small acorn, Delicata, or red kuri squash, scrubbed well (about 1-1 ½ lbs.)
- 2 large red bell peppers, halved, seeded, and cut into ½” slices
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- remaining apple cider vinaigrette from Day 1 (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 ¼ cups quinoa, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained if possible
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ cup pepitas, (pumpkin seeds) toasted*
*To toast nuts and seeds, place them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until they begin to turn golden and give off a nutty smell. Watch them carefully: nuts go from toasted to charcoal in no time flat!
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (save them for roasting, if desired, as a snack Day 6**) and cut each half into ½” thick slices.
- Place squash and peppers in a large bowl with coconut oil and ½ teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Transfer to the baking sheet and spread into a single layer. (Reserve the bowl.) Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is lightly browned and the peppers are tender, rotating the sheet pan 180° once. Remove the peels from the squash, if desired. Return vegetables to the large bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the vinaigrette.
- While the squash and peppers cook, make the quinoa. Place the quinoa, water, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 12-15 minutes, or until the water is almost completely absorbed. Turn off the heat.
- Add the Swiss Chard to the pot with the quinoa, stir, cover, and let the quinoa and chard steam for 10 minutes.
- Stir 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette into the quinoa and chard mixture, and transfer ¼ of the mixture to each of two bowls.
- Top each portion of the quinoa with ¼ of the squash mixture, ¼ of the shallots, and 2 tablespoons pepitas. Drizzle 1 tablespoon vinaigrette over each salad and serve.
- Package remaining quinoa, squash mixture, shallots, pepitas and vinaigrette in airtight containers for lunch tomorrow. Refrigerate until needed.
**To make roasted seeds for a snack Day 6: Lower oven to 300 degrees F. Rinse seeds and pat dry with paper towel. In a small bowl, toss seeds with ½ teaspoon coconut oil per ½ cup of seeds, and a pinch or two of sea salt. Spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. You may want to stir the seeds after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.