- 1/2 cup dried quinoa or 1 cup cooked quinoa
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup reserved squash seeds (optional)
- olive oil
- 1 large delicata squash, cut into quarters and then sliced into 1/2-inch-thick "arch" slices
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and slice into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 3 large carrots, peeled, sliced on a bias into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
- 1 medium butternut or honeynut squash, diced into 1/2-inch-thick cubes
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
This salad is one of those sneaky healthy side dishes that is comforting and unique. I love the crispy quinoa topping because they're like mini croutons that coat each vegetable. I also love using the seeds from the squash for extra crunch.
Technique tip: Make the dressing, veggies and quinoa ahead of time and just dress and assemble the salad the day of. The veggies will last up to 2 days in the fridge. I prefer to make everything the night ahead, though.
Swap options: You can really make this recipe your own. Use whatever winter squash is in stock or whatever squash and root vegetables that you like! Some other options: butternut squash, kabocha, parsnips, turnips, beets and carnival squash. You can also swap the parsley for cilantro if you want a brighter, more vibrant salad. The parsley will complement the flavors with its grassy herbaceous flavor, while the cilantro will provide a pleasant contrast with its vibrant citrusy notes (just make sure your guests like cilantro first!). Another swap is the cheese: You can skip the feta or sub for goat cheese, cotija or another white crumbly cheese that you like. If you don't want to make your own quinoa, buy the premade quinoa in the frozen section at the store and just give it a quick microwave.
For the salad:1.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.2.
Fill a saucepan with 1 cup of water along with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the quinoa and cover. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.3.
Once the liquid is absorbed, adjust the heat to medium and sauté it for 2 to 3 minutes to remove any excess moisture. Remove it from the heat and spread it onto a sheet pan along with the reserved squash seeds, if using. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat well with the seasonings and oil. Bake in the oven on the lower rack for 15 minutes, or until the quinoa and seeds are golden brown and crispy.4.
Place the rest of the vegetables onto another sheet pan (or 2 smaller ones) and season with olive oil and salt and pepper. Coat evenly in the seasoning. Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes until fork-tender, golden brown and cooked through. Check on them at 20 minutes and if they are browning on the side closest to the pan, flip them over for the remainder of the roast time. Let the vegetables cool to room temp before assembling the salad.
For the dressing:
Combine the maple syrup, Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until combined. Slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil, while whisking constantly to combine, or you can add all ingredients to a Mason jar and shake until combined.
Combine the roasted vegetables, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, minced shallot, half of the parsley and half of the dressing in a salad bowl. Toss together. Top with extra parsley if desired along with some crumbled feta. Serve with any extra dressing on the side.