Oooh baby, I am in denial that Calgary has already entered winter, because I LOVE fall. So, despite the fact that there is still snow on the ground (and its only October 2nd) and Calgary seems to have the WORST weather in Canada I am I am making all the fall recipes.
Like this acorn squash and apple salad with quinoa.
I made this on a whim yesterday and let me tell you – it is one of the best damn salads I’ve ever made. Seriously I will be eating this on repeat for the next few months. It’s seasonal, healthy, tastes great and also happens to be pretty inexpensive to make – bonus!
YIELD – approximately 4 servings as a main or 6 as a side.
- 3-4 cups cooked quinoa (about 11/2 -2 cups dry quinoa, it almost triples in size when cooked)
- 3 oz. kale (stems removed and finely sliced)
- 4 cups cubed acorn squash*
- 3 apples, cored and sliced into bite size pieces
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 11/2 cup candied nuts* (I did walnuts and shelled pumpkin seeds), see directions below
- ½ cup feta cheese* (optional)
- 1/3 cup raisins* (optional)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard* (if you like a lotta bite, feel free to add more Dijon)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup* (if you like things a little sweeter, feel free to add a little more maple syrup one tsp at a time).
*Special Note: Normally I massage the kale with a little EVOO ahead of time or coat it with a little dressing. For this salad I don’t as I personally like the bitter crunch it adds – but feel free to do so. I used acorn squash (skin on), but any squash will do, butternut would be my next choice. I used a combination of pumpkin seeds and walnuts and I would again, it was perfect. That being said; feel free to use whatever kind of nuts you want, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts would all go well as would pine nuts and sunflower seeds. The feta cheese and raisins are optional additions as I wasn’t going to add anything else in. In my opinion, they are delicious and add another dimension, but the salad is freaking great without them; so, your choice. If you’re vegan, just leave the feta out.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a bowl add pumpkin seeds and walnuts (in whatever ratio you would like) together. I did ¾ cup pumpkin seeds and ¾ walnut halves/pieces. Add in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (you can use ghee, butter, or pumpkin seed oil as well), 2 tbsp maple syrup, ¼ tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp all spice. Toss together until well coated. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the oven for 10-12 min. Check after 5 minutes and stir around, then put back in for another 5-7 minutes or until done.
- Remove from oven, set aside and let cool.
- Cut acorn squash in half , remove seeds then slice halves, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 45-50 min. At 30 min. flip acorn squash and toss apple slices on top, then return to oven for another 15-20 min or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork and the apple is soft.
- While the squash is in the oven, you can make the quinoa. Cook according to package or – put 11/2 cups quinoa and 3 cups water into a medium pot. Bring to a rolling bowl, then turn the heat off, put a lid on the pot and let sit. The quinoa will absorb the water and be fully cooked in about 15-20 min. Pour into a bowl, set aside and let cool.
- Next you can make the dressing. Whisk together all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until combined. Alternatively, you can pop the ingredients in a blender or magic bullet and pulse for 20 seconds or so.
- Once everything is done and cooled, you can build your salad. I like to build this one in the individual bowls they will be served in, but you do you. If you’re making it in one big serve yourself bowl, that’s A ok. But just in case, scoop the quinoa into the bottom of a bowl, spread the kale around the quinoa. Then split the acorn squash and apples between the 4 servings. Sprinkle with candied nuts, and the feta cheese and raisins should you choose to add them. Then drizzle with dressing and season with salt and pepper if you need…in my opinion, you do not, and I LOVE salt.
I apologize for the photo quality friends, it was shot with my old cell phone in very bad light; but it was too good not too share.
Hope you love it as much as we do.
Till the next recipe,