Slighlty warm or cold, that quinoa salad is the ultimate side dish to put on your table this month! It has the perfect balance between healthy, comforting and tasty. And it will definitely brighten up any table with its gorgeous orange and green colors!
Butternut Cranberries & Almonds Quinoa Salad
with orange & cumin tahini dressing
makes 4-6 servings
1 medium size butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and diced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 stalks of fresh thyme (optional)
3/4 cup of raw almonds
3/4 cup of black quinoa (+ 1 1/2 cup of water)
1/3 cup of dired cranberries
about 2 cups of roughly chopped flat parsley (about one bunch)
1 shallot, minced
Preheat the oven at 425F.
To roast the butternut squash : Line a lare baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the diced squash out in a single layer (make sure it isn’t overcrowded or the squash will steam and get mushy instead of roasting). Drizzle the squash with the olive oil, the salt and the thyme and toss with your hands to coat. Pop in the oven and bake 40-45 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let cool.
To toast the almonds : lower the oven temperature at 350F. On a tray, spread out the almonds (3/4 cups) in a single layer. Place in oven and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently shake the tray to redistribute the almonds. Return to the oven and check after 3 minutes if the nuts are ready or not. You’re looking for a darker color and a nutty smell. Plus, they might start crackling. They might need an extra 3 minutes in the oven, but almonds rarely take longer than 15 minutes to roast. Let cool down the almonds a few minutes.
For the quinoa : in a sieve, rinse the quinoa (3/4 cup) under running water. Transfer in a sauce pan along with the water (1 1/2 cup). Uncovered, bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to a minimum, cover and cook 12-15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove from heat and set aside at least 5 minutes before checking it, to let the quinoa fully absorbs the water. Let cool down a little bit.
To make the salad : in a big bowl, mix together the chopped parsley, the minced shallot, the cranberries, the roasted almonds (roughly chopped) and the cooked quinoa. Then gently mix in the roasted butternut squash. Adjust salt and pepper if need and finally drizzle with the orange & cumin tahini dressing (recipe below).
Orange & Cumin Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup orange juice
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste
In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients with a fork until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
You can store the dressing in the fridge up to a few days. If it gets firmer, simply thin it up with extra water.