It is definitely winter around these parts, and it's even more apparent as I used the last of the season's fresh apples I had stored this past weekend. I'm still working my way through a stockpile of winter squash, however, as it stores a bit longer.
With the holiday season upon us, my mind is turning to gatherings and parties and lavish holiday meals, and with a pantry stocked full of dried cranberries for shortbread cookies, I suddenly found myself making an impromptu meal from one of those squash. Whether you're looking to serve this for a holiday party or just have it for a warm dinner one winter night, this quinoa and squash combination will definitely satisfy.
Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Delicata Squash
2 delicata squash
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
½ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 scallions, finely chopped
6 ounces chevre, cut into small ½" chunks*
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 375º F. Rinse delicate squash and cut into ½"-thick rings. Spritz or brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and place on baking sheet. Bake at 375º F for 20 to 25 minutes or until squash is tender.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat bring quinoa and water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until all water is absorbed and quinoa are slightly translucent with a tender bite about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped scallions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in cranberries and quinoa. Remove from heat and add in chevre. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
When squash rings are done, scoop quinoa salad into the center and serve as a side dish or appetizer. This can also be served as a vegetarian meal in larger portions.
*Vegan variation: Omit chevre and add toasted, chopped hazelnuts instead.
Photos by Shaina Olmanson
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