I made this recipe for the first time a few months ago when we hosted my mother in-law’s birthday party. I have since made it a few more times, using some different vegetables. My mother also made it with some different veggies and fruits to suit a dinner party she was attending. Now that we are in Vermont “relaxing” for a few days, I am finally catching up on the blog and posting some new recipes. I used to be able to remember my recipes without writing them down, but lately, I am very grateful when I actually jot them down on an index card because I can’t seem to recall anything at all. (Perhaps a side effect of not enough sleep or my imminent big birthday that looms later this year …) Anyhow, this is a light, tangy dish that is perfect served at room temperature, which is ideal for a summer party. The instructions below look a little intense, but I promise it is an easy recipe and can be assembled in pieces to save time.
Quinoa with Roasted Squash and Brussels
Prep Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cook Time: Approximately 1 hour (can be done in advance)
Servings: 8 – 10 side dish servings
- 2 bags frozen quinoa or approximately 6 cups of cooked quinoa
- 1 lb. roasted brussel sprouts or asparagus stalks (see further explanation below)
- 1 lb. roasted butternut squash or golden beets (see further explanation below)
- 1 cup dried currants or cherries
- 1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (sometimes called pepitas), unsalted if possible
- 1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
- juice from 1 small/medium orange
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut brussel sprouts in half, unless using baby brussels, which can be left whole.
- Place on baking sheet and drizzle with 1/2 – 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. If you don’t like brussels, you can use asparagus spears instead or my mother replaced with cooked and shelled edamame.
- Cut butternut squash (I bought pre-peeled) into 1 inch cubes.
- Place squash on the other baking sheet and prep in the same manner as the brussels. As noted above, I also made this recipe with roasted golden beets instead of butternut squash and it was equally delicious, so you could do either.
- Roast both veggies in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely. You can roast the veggies a day in advance, to save time.
- If the pumpkin seeds are not roasted, place in a medium frying pan, dry, and lightly saute until the seeds start to brown. Watch them carefully so they do not burn. Often roasted pumpkin seeds are salted and they tend to be VERY salty, so it would be my preference to buy raw unsalted to roasted and salted.
- Prepare quinoa according to package instructions. If you buy frozen quinoa, (I use Whole Foods brand, which is good, Trader Joes tends to get soggy, so I would prepare dry if that was my only option) thaw in the fridge until ready for use.
- In a shaker bottle or small covered bowl, combine dressing ingredients, olive oil through orange juice and shake well to combine.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, roasted veggies, pumpkin seeds and currants. My mother used dried cherries instead of currants or you could also try dried cranberries.
- Pour 1/2 of dressing into bowl and combine well. Determine if additional dressing is needed and add accordingly.
- Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and store in fridge for approximately 2 hours (but longer is totally fine) to allow flavors to meld.
- Take out of fridge at least 15 minutes prior to serving to warm to room temperature, add remaining dressing and additional salt and pepper.
Enjoy with chicken, fish or pork. You can add leftover protein to quinoa or enjoy leftovers for lunch on its own. Even without animal protein, it has a nice nutritional profile with the quinoa and seeds.