This little squash growing on the ground on one of the farms where we walk the dog was the inspiration for a quinoa (keen-wah) salad I made for lunch yesterday. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. It is so highly regarded because of its nutritional value, having a high protein content, essential amino acids and fibre.
This is the first time I have cooked with Quinoa. After all the indulgence over Christmas this is my attempt at healthy eating. I roasted the squash & red onion the night before for dinner and had some left over to put in this salad. Make sure you season the quinoa well it soaks up lots of flavour…
Roasted Squash, Red Onion & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing
serves 3 or 4, vegetarian
- 1/3 squash or pumpkin about 500 gr cut into 1 cm dice
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into eighths (wedges)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
- salt & black pepper
- 2 or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup quinoa about 200 gr
- 1 cup water 250 ml
- 1 cup veg stock 250 ml
- salt & pepper
- a handful of chopped pistachios (I used walnuts but pistachios would be better)
- a handful of sultanas
For the dressing
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 0r 3 tbsp tahini
- the juice & zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp hot water from the kettle (maybe more)
- 1/ tsp salt
First roast the vegetables. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the squash cubes & red onion wedges on a lined baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil & balsamic vinegar, sprinkle over the salt, pepper, chilli flakes & rosemary and toss together with your hands to coat the veg. Roast in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until the squash is tender but not mushy. Remove from the oven & leave to cool.
Meanwhile cook the quinoa. Put the quinoa, water, veg stock, salt & pepper in a medium saucepan and heat until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed about 15 minutes. You may need to add more liquid. It is done when you can see the curly swirl in each grain. Fluff up with a fork, leave to cool and toss with the squash, onions, pistachios & sultanas. Check for seasoning.
Make the dressing. Whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, zest & olive oil. Add the hot water & salt and continue whisking until you get the desired consistency. Add more hot water/oil/lemon juice if you need to. Pour half of the dressing over the quinoa salad and mix to coat evenly.
Serve the salad at room temperature with some extra tahini dressing on the side….. You could also crumble over some feta or goat’s cheese for extra flavour.