I decided to go for a warm salad this week. We’ve been pretty busy around here. Tony has been hanging drywall in our new to us house. I am doing the painful task of breaking out a shower pan that I built and starting over. I am definitely not a great cement layer. However, I got some new things that will make creating the new one easier. Let’s hope. This means, time intensive recipes are not a good idea right now. I typically grocery shop and meal prep on Saturday and cook on Sunday. For the Sunday meal, I’ll have all of my veggies prepped and anything I can pre-cook. That way Sunday there is minimal prep.
Since this recipe is a warm salad, I can prep most of the ingredients ahead of time. I am using a recipe from Half-Baked Harvest for Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad. This salad has a lot of healthy things going for it. Good protein and plenty of vegetables, but the nutrition profile is heavy on the calories and light on the vitamins. I also want to add a little meat too and skip the cheese. I also may change the squash type too. The same flavor profile, just more vitamin rich ingredients. Here are the original stats:
Here’s what I changed:
- I deleted the haloumi because Tony wants to avoid cheese right now.
- I cut the salt in half to reduce the amount of sodium.
- I cut down the amount of olive oil for roasting by half to reduce the calories.
- I replaced the acorn squash with butternut to increase the vitamin A.
- I replaced the baby kale with regular kale for vitamin C and because it’s easier to find.
- I removed the pomegranate because they are also hard to find.
- I removed the maple syrup to reduce the sugar and calories.
- I added in some poached chicken breast to add protein.
- I increased the servings from 6 to 7 to reduce the calories.
Here are the final stats:
Here is the final recipe:
Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad
For the salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 200g butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- pinch of Ground Cayenne Red Pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 pound Kale, chopped
- 1 apple cored + thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or roasted pistachios
- 1 pound poached chicken breast, chopped
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
Cook quinoa according to package directions.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
On a baking sheet, toss together the squash, olive oil, cinnamon, cayenne 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing twice throughout cooking until the squash is tender and lightly caramelized.
In a large bowl, combine the warm quinoa, roasted squash, kale, apples, and pumpkin seeds. Gently toss to combine.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the heat and add to the salad.
Drizzle with the turmeric tahini dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tumeric Tahini Dressing
In a blender combine the tahini, turmeric, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons water and blend until smooth, adding water to thin the dressing until it is pourable.