This is my new go-to-tailgate salad. The combination of flavors and crunch pair easily with grilled anything or with sandwiches. It's a delicious, super-healthy-make-ahead-gluten-free crowd pleaser. (Say that three times fast.) Just leave out the cheese and you have a dairy-free and vegan salad that won't scare anyone away. Even the people who can't pronounce quinoa.
quinoa harvest salad
Serves about 10
3 c quinoa
seeds from 1/2 of a pomegranate
1 c walnuts, lightly toasted
2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 c shaved parmesan
2 c arugula
kosher or smoked salt
3 T maple syrup
for the dressing
1 c olive oil
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot
2 T maple syrup
2 t dijon mustard
salt + pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 375º
On a rimmed baking sheet, add the squash, a few glugs of olive oil, maple syrup and smoked salt. Mix well to make sure the squash is evenly coated. Roast for about 30 minutes or so unitil soft and slightly caramelized. Set aside and let it cool.
Rinse the quinoa well. Combine 3 cups of quinoa with 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook until the water is absorbed and it's fluffy, about 15 minutes. Pour into a large bowl (perhaps your intended serving bowl) and let cool.
Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and whiz until it's emulsified. Adjust seasonings and set aside. Lightly dry toast the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Seed the pomegranate. Possibly the easiest, least messy way is to cut the fruit into quarters, submerge each section in a bowl of water and coax out the seeds. The membranes will simply float to the top of the water as the seeds sink to the bottom (without the squirty mess all over you and your counters.)
Once everything has cooled, combine all of the components and dressing in a large bowl and mix together. Adjust the salt and pepper and serve. Any leftovers keep well for about 5 days.
The salad makes for a surprisingly satisfying lunch on the go.