Is there a whole grain recipe in your holiday menu? Impress guests with this vegetarian and gluten-free salad of red quinoa tossed with dice butternut squash, lightly sauté dinosaur kale and ginger vinaigrette. Currently in season in the Northeast region of the United States, butternut squash taste similar and can be used interchangeably with pumpkin.
Use one large butternut squash diced in vegetable soups, pureed in breads and roasted for salads. It’s mildly sweet flavor compliments red quinoa’s earthy and nutty taste. Adding a bit of savory flavor is thinly sliced sauté kale. The vinaigrette adds tiny bites of ginger throughout the salad. Include this beautiful and healthy salad in your traditional holiday meal.
Butternut Squash and Kale with Red Quinoa with Ginger Vinaigrette
- 1-cup red quinoa (white quinoa is a good substitute)
- 2-cups peeled and diced butternut squash (substitute any winter squash or sweet potato)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 to 3 cups thinly sliced kale*
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
- Crushed red pepper; to taste
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger; finely diced
- A tiny garlic clove; minced
- 1/4-cup olive oil
- 2 to 3 tbsp. apple cider
- (Optional) 1/2 tsp. pomegranate molasses or honey
- 1/8 to 1/4-cup dried pomegranate or cranberry
- Cook quinoa according to the manufacturer’s directions (Hint: Most directions use 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water for a soft and mushy texture. I recommend 1 cup of quinoa to 1-1/2 cups of water for a firmer texture). Set aside once cooked.
- Place butternut squash in a medium pot. Cover with just enough water and 1 tsp. sea salt until the squash is fully covered. Cover the pot with a lid, and bring to a boil. Remove lid and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, until the squash is just tender, but not mushy. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Place aside.
- Melt butter over medium-high heat in a skillet. Stir in the red onions. Stir frequently until the onions are translucent. Add the kale and quickly season with salt and both of the peppers. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Place greens in a large bowl.
- To make the vinaigrette: In a smaller bowl, whisk together, fresh ginger, garlic, olive oil, apple cider, sea salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and pomegranate molasses or honey (if using).
- In the same large bowl as the greens, lightly toss in the red quinoa, butternut squash, vinaigrette and dried pomegranate or cranberries.
Enjoy at room temperature.
*Used dinosaur kale found at farmer’s markets or in farm shares for this recipe. If unable to find dinosaur kale, substitute collard greens or another variety of kale. For directions on how to thinly slice greens, visit the Sauté Collard Greens with Tomatoes recipe.