Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Quinoa Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

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Every few weeks or so, I always try to get myself back on “track”. What do I mean by this? Basically, when I really start to feel my pants digging into my muffin top to a point of painfulness, I vow to start dieting and exercising AGAIN… Ugh…

Exactly a month ago, I decided to start the “fed-up challenge” with a friend of mine and I created this salad on the 1st day of the challenge. For those who are not familiar with this diet, you basically cut out added sugar and non-whole grain carbohydrates from your diet for 10 days. Easy, right? Yeah, I think I lasted 4, maybe 5 days. But at least I came up with this yummy salad and I thought it would be a great addition to our Thanksgiving feast this year.

Oh and I also used pumpkin seed oil for the vinaigrette which is an ingredient that I was only introduced to when I moved to Switzerland. I love using it in salads this time of year and it pairs extremely well with beets. Just use it sparingly as it is robust and nutty in flavor and a little goes a long way, similar to sesame oil.

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INGREDIENTS (approx. 4 servings)

4 cups cubed butternut squash

3 sprigs of rosemary (optional)

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable stock

5 large stalks of kale chopped

1/4 cup toasted pinenuts

extra virgin olive oil

fleur de sel or kosher salt

freshly cracked pepper

For the vinaigrette

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp pumpkin seed oil

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp whole-grain mustard (or a Dijon)

1/2 garlic clove grated (optional)

fleur de sel or kosher salt

freshly cracked pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200 C) and place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  2. Place cubed butternut squash onto the baking sheet and lightly dress with extra virgin olive oil and dash of fleur de sel, freshly cracked pepper and rosemary sprigs. Roast in oven for 30 minutes until tender and half through the roasting time, flip the squash cubes to the other side.
  3. While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa by placing 1 cup of quinoa in a small saucepan with 2 cups of vegetable broth. Bring this to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
  4. As the quinoa is simmering and squash is roasting, heat a large pan on high. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and then saute your kale until wilted. Season with fleur de sel and freshly cracked pepper.
  5. For the vinaigrette, whisk all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  6. Place the quinoa into the vinaigrette and lightly toss and then add in the kale, squash and toasted pine nuts.
  7. Serve with a few last drops of pumpkin seed oil and a pinch of fleur de sel.

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