Here's an easy way to use up produce and work your way through some pantry staples. The only item you may not have on hand is pomegranate molasses. You could make your own balsamic glaze or even mix balsamic vinegar with a little honey or maple syrup. In fact, I may add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup with the pomegranate molasses next time to take away some of the tartness. And if you're looking for extra protein, try adding chickpeas.
Feel free to sub in different ingredients - use the vegetables, herbs, and cheese you have on hand. Try walnuts or sunflower seeds instead of slivered almonds. Use barley, farro, or brown rice in place of quinoa. Or try sweet potato vs butternut squash.
(to make an entree-sized salad for two hungry adults)
- 1-2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
- 1-2 cups quinoa
- 2-4 cups water, vegetable, or chicken broth (liquid to quinoa ratio should be 2:1)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- cinnamon, cayenne, salt, pepper; to your liking
- 2-3 Tbsp diced scallions
- 2-4 Tbsp herbs; I used a mix of sage, oregano, thyme, and parsley
- 2-3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 small or 1 large shredded carrot
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1-2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1- Toss the squash with 1 Tbsp olive oil and spices. Roast at 375F for 25-30 minutes, or until soft and cooked through. About half way through add the diced bell pepper.
2- While the squash and pepper roast, toast the quinoa in 1 Tbsp olive oil for a few minutes until it smells like popcorn. Keep stirring it and be careful not to burn it. Then add the liquid, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.
3- Meanwhile, dice the scallions, herbs, baby spinach, shred the carrots with a vegetable peeler, and add it all to a bowl. Once the quinoa is cooked, add it to the bowl. Top with the dried cranberries, cheese, and add the roasted squash and pepper once ready.
4- Dry toast the slivered almonds for a few minutes in the same pot used to cook the quinoa. Add to the bowl. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and toss everything together.