I thought about naming this salad Welcome to Fiber Town, but it didn’t seem as catchy. OK, well, not that I named it something catchy, but at least its descriptive. But I love having this salad for lunch. It leaves me feeling full, without any guilt. Because, as much as I love the sweet and salty combo, I love a mushy/ crunchy combo even more. And between the squash, cinnamon and pecans this salad just tastes like all sorts of winter goodness.
Truth time, I first stumbled upon “toasted quinoa” when I burned some while making it, so I figured, hey – why not do this on purpose?! Now that my tooth is mostly recovered from the root canal (although I still need to get a crown put in) I felt a little more comfortable eating things like toasted pecans and quinoa. I’m such a daredevil, aren’t I? Plus, by making the quinoa super cinnamon-y you don’t really have to add much to the rest of salad for flavor. Easy peasy.
One thing I’ve found when roasting things like butternut squash and sweet potatoes is that if you give them time to cool over night in the fridge it makes them even softer. And although I think there is a time and a place for a firm squash, in my salad is not one of them!
I also think this salad would travel really well. If you pack your lunches for work, you make a big batch in advance and just bring some into the office. At home I topped it off with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but I think you should keep that separate when traveling. You don’t want to mush up the quinoa!
Have you ever toasted your quinoa before? And do you like salads in the winter, or something heartier? Let me know in the comments!
- 4 cups Spinach
- 1 medium Butternot Squash, roasted
- 1/2 cup Pecans
- 1/2 cup Quinoa
- 1 cup Vegetable Broth
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 pinch Salt
- Knob of Coconut Oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°
- Roast squash for 45 minutes and then let cool.
- Preheat oven 350°
- In a pot add vegetable broth, quinoa and cinnamon. Cook on high until it comes to a boil, the reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally and cook until water is absorbed, and quinoa is fluffy. Then remove from heat.
- Grease baking sheet with coconut oil and place quinoa on top. Cook for 10-12 minutes, tossing occasionally, and checking crispiness.Remove when firm but not hard or burned.
- Place pecans on a separate baking sheet and toast for 3-4 minutes.
- Put spinach in a bowl and top with squash, pecans and quinoa. Add oil and vinegar if desired.