Winter Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash, Caramelized Onions and Wilted Spinach
- 1 cup quinoa uncooked
- 2-3 cups butternut squash cubed
- kosher salt for sprinkling on squash
- 2 medium onions thinly sliced into rings (approximately 2 cups)
- approximately ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries or more to taste could also use dried cherries
- 2-3 tablespoons EVOO divided plus extra for roasting squash
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
- ½ cup salted cashews more to taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1- 1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse quinoa
- In a medium saucepan, add quinoa and 2 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tablespoon oil to cover the base of a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions, sprinkle with salt and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until soft and golden brown, approx 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in sage.
- Tip: If you're not using a non-stick pan and get the brown crispy parts on the base of the skillet, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan stir over medium low heat for a minute. The brown parts will "lift" from the pan and you can add them to the quinoa salad at the end for extra flavor if you want.
Roasted Butternut Squash (roast while quinoa cooks and onions caramelize)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Gently toss cubed squash with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or neutral oil of choice, place in a single layer on baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake 30 minutes, or until tender with crispy edges.
- Set aside.
- Mix together remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice.
- Add cranberries to the dressing and let sit for a minute or two.
- Add dressing along with cranberries to cooked quinoa and toss to combine.
- Add onions and sage to the quinoa mixture and toss to combine
- Add squash and spinach to warm quinoa mixture and gently combine and let spinach wilt from warmth of quinoa and squash. Pro Tip: If quinoa and squash not warm enough, you could saute spinach for 1 minute or two to get it a little wilted.
- Add in cashews. Pro Tip: if not eating the entire salad at once, hold out some of the cashews and add in when serving. That way they will stay crunchy and salty.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the extra brown bits from the caramelized onions skillet as desired. Add more lemon juice as desired. Stir well and enjoy!
- Serve warm or room temperature.
- Stays well in the refrigerator for several days in a sealed container.