Butternut squash is one of my all-time favorite foods. I didn’t discover it until I was an adult, but it quickly became a household staple throughout the fall and winter months. Butternut squash is widely available at supermarkets and farmers markets, and it is an affordable fruit that can be prepared in many ways. While I really love summer produce, I love butternut squash so much, I almost don’t miss my tomatoes.
This warm dish features roasted butternut squash, which gives structure to the salad. Quinoa is the main protein, and it absorbs all the wonderful flavors of the dressing - a little spice, a little zing and a little sweetness. Kale and radicchio offer pops of bright green and purple that compliment the rich orange of the squash. The finished salad is so beautiful it could be served as a main dish for the most critical of company, but it’s just as good for dinner with the family and as leftovers the next day.
Quinoa Facts and Information from the Test Kitchen:
- Contrary to what many assume, quinoa is a seed, not a grain.
- Always rinse quinoa before cooking. Quinoa has a bitter coating that can change the flavor of a recipe if not rinsed.
- Fine mesh strainers are the best to rinse this seed before cooking.
- Quinoa cooks quickly. Add 2 cups of water and 1 cup rinsed quinoa, to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
- Use the same fine mesh strainer to thoroughly drain the quinoa. It holds water and, if not properly drained, will water down the flavors in your recipe.
- Let the cooked quinoa rest for 5 to 10 minutes to completely dry before adding to a recipe.