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December 30, 2015 Comments Off on Cranberry Butternut Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Dried Fruits & Pumpkin Seeds
If you like a variety of textures & flavors in a salad, then you are sure to love this, which has so many of each in every bite…tart…sweet…savory…crunchy…creamy…and cilantro & mint give the salad a punch of freshness, which is delicious! I like serving this salad as a vegan/paleo side dish or main dish served with a side salad, but my favorite way is to serve the salad in radicchio cups & create wraps! This is a great game day dish to serve…healthy, gluten-free, vegetarian…vegan, actually…& beautiful! This quinoa salad is part of A Girls’ Game Day Menu…trust me, the boys will like it too!
Peel & dice the butternut squash into cubes that are slightly larger than bite-size. Toss with olive oil (b) & roast until caramelized & beautifully roasted, about 20 minutes. Set aside in a bowl once cooled.
While the butternut squash is roasting, rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer with cold water (a), then add to a saucepan with the kosher salt & cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover & reduce the temperature to low or simmer, until all the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes (b). The quinoa should appear fluffy at this point.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other ingredients...chop the dates (remember to remove the pit) & the apricots....next, hazelnuts...the easiest way to chop hazelnuts is to put the whole hazelnuts in a resealable bag...hit the hazelnuts with a mallet to break up into rough chop...set all three ingredients aside in separate bowls.
Chop the mint & cilantro & place in a separate bowl.
Separate the pomegranate seeds by cutting the pomegranate into sections, then removing the seeds.
Measure out the dried cranberries & pumpkin seeds into separate bowls...I think the easiest way to put together this salad is to have all the ingredients in separate bowls for mixing.
Transfer the quinoa to a large mixing bowl & pour the Cranberry Shallot Dressing over the quinoa in divided amounts, until the quinoa is well coated by the dressing...this part is personal preference...some like a little dressing...some like a lot...taste as you go & see for yourself.
Add in the remaining ingredients, beginning with the herbs...add in the nuts, then seeds, then dried fruits...mix well...add the butternut squash & pomegranate seeds last so these ingredients do not break up with mixing.
Serve the quinoa salad as a main dish, side dish...or my favorite way, served in radicchio cups as a wrap!