Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash and Avocados

I was craving a hearty salad last week and looked around my kitchen to see what I had on hand. I had an acorn squash that needed to be used up along with some avocados. I thought, why not put them together somehow, and this salad creation was born. The dressing recipe is from Food Lush Blog and I love it because it doesn't require any dairy unlike most poppyseed dressings out there. It was the perfect combination and a very satisfying lunch!

For the Salad

1/2 acorn squash
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1/2 cup water
2 handfuls of baby spinach, or greens of your choice
1/2 avocado, sliced

For the Dressing  

Juice and zest from one orange
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot
1 tablespoon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1-2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Salad Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the acorn squash lengthwise, remove seeds and brush the insides with olive oil. Place cut side down on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile rinse quinoa and place it in a small pot with 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until done. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork. Place your salad greens in a bowl and mix with cooled quinoa. When the squash is cooked, cut into smaller pieces and lay them on top of the salad and quinoa mixture along with the avocado slices. Drizzle with the orange poppy seed dressing.

Dressing Directions
Place all the ingredients except poppy seeds in a blender and mix well. Add poppy seeds and pulse once or twice just to mix them in. I added honey to mine because I wanted my dressing to be on the sweeter side, but that it totally optional! You can adjust the ingredients to your liking. Enjoy! - Alex

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