This vegan, gluten-free and high-fiber quinoa salad is simply delicious for Meatless Monday or any meal. By now, you’ve probably tasted quinoa, but may not have attempted to cook it. Trust me, I know how daunting it could be to try a new whole grain, especially with a name like quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). I’ll be honest, my first box of quinoa was cooped up in the cupboard for quite some time before I decided to break out my apron and get cooking, but I'm so glad I did!
Quinoa is incredibly easy to prepare. Think the same preparation as oatmeal, using 1 part grain to 2 parts liquid. Yes, it’s that simple! Quinoa is also versatile, which is a feature that I love and simply means that the possibilities of cooking with it are endless. But of all the quinoa recipes that I’ve tried, quinoa salads are by far my favorite-mainly because it can be eaten hot or cold and doesn’t require a ton of prep or ingredients.
Quinoa boasts a stellar nutritional profile and is rich in dietary fiber and protein, which are two nutrients that can help you feel fuller longer and less likely to binge on unhealthy foods. In addition, it has a low glycemic index which means it will not cause spikes and falls in blood sugar which can also help to prevent cravings for sweets. How’s that for a teensy grain?!
Give this recipe a try and I promise you’ll be creating your own signature quinoa dishes in no time.
Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Toasted Almonds
Makes 4 servings (about ¾ cup each)
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (use a fine mesh strainer for rinsing)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
- ½ cup baby spinach, chopped
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place butternut squash on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
- While squash is roasting, get started on the quinoa. Rinse quinoa thoroughly under cold water in a fine mesh strainer.
- In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water and quinoa to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
- Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- In the meantime, heat a skillet over medium heat and sauté almonds for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Remove and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, almonds, cranberries, spinach and butternut squash.
- In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing over quinoa and toss to combine.