Roasted butternut squash and quinoa salad

I can remember Christmas day at my grand parents house with all four of my dad’s siblings there with their families. More than a dozen of us crammed into a little farmhouse, but having a great time.

The meal was the main event – okay, besides the presents. We would have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, broccoli rice bake, rolls, and much more. The drinks and conversation would flow and there seemed to be a glow coming from the house.

I still remember the cookies, pies, and homemade chex mix being pulled out; as if we needed more food to sustain the long evening ahead of us. My brother and I use to sit under the large wooden table and listen to the stories and laughter as the adults reminisced about days long past.

Recently I had a holiday potluck at my new office and there was something about that table full of varied foods, the stories and the laughter that took me back to the farm. I am thankful I have had both those opportunities and grateful that I have a new group of people to get close to. And this time I don’t have to sit under the table.

The recipe that follows ended up being the perfect dish for our holiday potluck. Easy to share, colorful, a little crunchy and a little surprising – reminds me of my extended family and all their stories.

Roasted butternut squash and quinoa salad

Butternut Squash salad

Serves 4-6 as main course or 8-12 as side dish

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (I prefer the low sugar version)
  • 3/4 cup baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1 8oz microwave package of farro, cooked

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss diced squash with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Spread on a greased baking sheet.

Roast the squash for 15-20 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

While the squash is in the oven, heat 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a small saute pan over medium/high heat. Saute the onion slices for 2 minutes then reduce the heat to medium and continue to saute for another 5-6 minutes, until onion is caramelized.

Once the squash is done place the lemon juice, honey, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and whisk.

Add the butternut squash, onions, quinoa, farro, spinach, and cranberries to the bowl. Toss with the dressing until well coated.

We added feta and some chopped almonds when enjoying it as the main dish, but it also goes well as a side dish with fish and other simply prepared meats.

Enjoy with good friends and family 🙂

 

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