Last week, I took advantage of the last few days of a semi-holiday schedule by inviting a couple of my best gal pals over for lunch with Phoebe and me. I was so ready for clean, nutritious eating and figured that I probably wouldn’t be the only one, so I put together this Quinoa Harvest Salad based on some favorite ingredients that I always seem to have in the fridge these days. Kale (did you catch yesterday’s inspiration?), quinoa, ribbons of raw carrot, roasted butternut squash, crunchy apple slices, and a handful each of sweet cranberries and candied pecans made this a bursting-with-color salad that managed to be both virtuous and entertaining-ready. Keep reading for the recipe, and check out a few of my other fave salads here.
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 lemons
- kosher salt
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup grilled chicken, cubed (optional)
- a couple handfuls baby greens or arugula
- 1/2 bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- 1 apple, sliced
- 1/4 cup cranberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- candied pecans (marcona almonds or pumpkin seeds would be delish, too)
- next time, I’ll probably try adding a few chopped dates or pickled beets!
Rinse the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a saucepan, heat the quinoa and broth until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. While it’s still warm, toss quinoa with juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Set aside to let cool to room temp. (This can be done ahead… keep quinoa in the fridge for up to a few days.)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss butternut squash with maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and roast until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, pour 1/2 cup orange juice over the cranberries and let sit for at least 20 minutes so they can “plump up.”
Prepare the kale by “massaging” it in the bowl you’re going to use to serve the salad. (This takes away the bitterness and makes it really tasty.) Pour a drizzle each of lemon juice and olive oil onto kale leaves and add a pinch or two of sea salt. With your hands, massage kale for a couple of minutes until it’s deep dark green and tender.
Make dressing: In a small bowl, combine juice of 2 lemons, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil.
Add to the kale: quinoa, butternut squash, chicken (if using), baby greens, carrot and apple. Sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper to taste, then toss with desired amount of dressing. Drain cranberries, and add them to salad with candied pecans.
*serves 4 for a light meal