Fall Quinoa Salad

My husband and I are officially moved into our new home! Before getting into the food I want to thank every single person who helped us pack, move, organize, unpack, clean, etc. We had a great group of family and friends who took time out of their busy schedules to lend us a hand. It was truly appreciated and I am so grateful!

As you may imagine, one of my favorite rooms in the house is the kitchen! (Surprise, Surprise) Unpacking all of the utensils, pots/pans, and serving dishes that have been hiding in storage was like Christmas morning. It renewed my passion for cooking and creating meals for those around me. I can say I have been truly inspired by my new space and hope to experiment like crazy in the weeks and months to come. Let’s take a look at how far this kitchen has come!

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Just a plan and some orange spray paint.

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Getting there…

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The vision is starting to come together….

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This is the current “final product” although I do see some paint in the near future! :)

I have, admittedly, been completely and totally immersed in moving, but I finally looked up long enough to realize that fall is officially here! It may have been the pumpkin explosion at Trader Joe’s…or maybe that fall smell in the air that my co-worker pointed out…or maybe the beautiful fall colors proudly displayed on the trees. The combination of my favorite season and a new kitchen has led me to creating this fall quinoa recipe. It is reminiscent of my favorite flavors of fall in a healthy, well-rounded meal. The dish boasts sweet from dried currants, creamy roasted butternut squash, nutty quinoa, and great texture from the pumpkin seeds; yum! I am making it today to serve for dinner tomorrow; the flavors will mingle and get better with time.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. quinoa (any color will work); rinsed…it is tempting, but don’t skip the rinsing stage
  • 1 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • olive oil (1/2 c. for the dressing, 1 tbsp. for the chicken, and 2 tbsp for the squash)
  • 1 lb. chicken breast
  • 1/2 c. dried currants
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium saucepan combine vegetable broth and water; bring to a boil and add the rinsed and drained quinoa. Rinsing quinoa is important; it has a coating picked up during manufacturing that tastes bitter if it is not rinsed well. I like to use the tri-color quinoa package, but any color will be fine.

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Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes with the lid on; this will make the quinoa light and fluffy.

Peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler.

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This can sometimes be difficult, depending on the shape, but I usually touch up the pieces I missed with a knife while I am cubing it. Place cubes of butternut squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 25-30 minutes until tender; tossing half-way through.

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Drizzle chicken breast with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through; approximately 5-7 minutes per side. Once cooked, set aside to cool. Dice into bite size pieces. Combine red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, 1/2 c. olive oil, and salt and pepper to make dressing. Time to combine everything!

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In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, currants, butternut squash, diced chicken, and dressing. Mix well to combine. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top when ready to serve. Can be served room temperature or cold. Get in your comfy fall clothes and enjoy!

One thought on “Fall Quinoa Salad

  1. Pingback: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup | freshpickedlove

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