Roasted Acorn Squash, Microgreens and Quinoa Salad
Vegan and Gluten free with creamy Tahini Dressing
Every year, during peak squash season, we get a healthy supply of squash, and a few acorn squash too! All squash are consumed fast.... what remains behind is Acorns! I'm not acorn squash hater, but I don't know why I'm always lazy to finish acorn squash. This year too, story repeated itself, and dark green acorn squash turned orange lying on my kitchen shelf... many squash came and went by....
Some credit for this also goes to Vishal. It is hard to make him eat squash... and the way I like acorn, he does not, at all!
For those who are wondering, if it is okay to eat dark acorn squash turned orange over time? Answer is - Yes! it is totally okay! As long as squash feels heavier than it looks, does not have yellow soft patches, and when you cut open, has no mold or rotten smell, it is okay to eat ripened orange acorn squash. In-fact, I think orange-skinned acorn squash is sweeter than dark green skinned squash. Specially when roasted, it tastes delicious, even skin is fully soft and edible!
So last Friday, I decided to use my orange acorn squash (finally!) I paired it with few of my favorite (also Vishal's favorite) ingredients to make a healthy, vegan, and filling lunch salad which we both can like...
Now, since we talking healthy... I can't resist telling you about few other healthy ingredients in this salad. First micro-greens!! If you looking to add mouth-bursting flavor and ton of nutrients of mustard or basil to a salad with less than a handful of greens, then buy some micro greens in your next farmer's market visit!
I'm huge fan of micro-greens especially mustard, basil, and kale greens. Micro-greens supply higher amount of vitamins and carotenoids than their fully grown counterparts! Packed with punch of taste and nutrition, microgreens are here to stay my friends!
Further, to keep this salad healthy yet filling, I have also included a portion of red quinoa. My salads or veggie bowls, often have more vegetables than base grain. So, I have just used 1/4 cup of dried quinoa for whole acorn squash and 1/2 cup of microgreens. Feel free to increase the amount of quinoa to up-to 1/2 cup. In such case this salad will be good for 3-4 servings.
Good you asked! as if I kept it a secret ;) ..... this salad is vegan. drum rolls!!!!! j/k A little creamy-ness is courtesy of 1 tablespoon sesame (tahini) paste. If you don't like sesame, feel free to use 1 tablespoon of any nut butter instead, say peanuts or almonds.
Yes, this gorgeous looking salad is gluten free. Even then, healthy serving of quinoa and squash makes it filling and satisfactory!
Love to share more such delicious and healthy salads with you this year.....
For now, go get some micro greens, empty your squash pantry, and make some roasted squash salad!
Just for you! few more salads using microgreens or quinoa!
Roasted Acorn Squash, Microgreens and Quinoa Salad
- Vegan Sesame Garlic Dressing
- 1 tbsp Tahini Paste (sesame paste)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Garlic (2 cloves of garlic)
- 2 tbsp Oregano (1-2 sprigs of oregano, use only leaves, or use 1/2 tablespoon dried)
- 2 tbsp Cilantro (only use leaves)
- 1/2 Jalapeno (or 1/2 of fresno chili, seeds removed, both optional)
- 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt and Black Pepper (as per taste)
- Roasted Squash Salad
- 1 lbs Acorn Squash (1 average size acorn squash, diced into bite-size pieces)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Smoked Red Pepper (or smoked paprika)
- Salt (generous pinch or two)
- 1/2 Cup Microgreens (like mustard or kale microgreens)
- 1/4 Cup Quinoa (red or rainbow quinoa)
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/4 tsp Salt
1. Preheat oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice acorn to bite size pieces. Acorn's skin get very soft on roasting, so no need to peel the skin. On a baking sheet, drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on squash and toss well, spread squash in a single layer. Season with salt and the paprika. Roast squash, tossing halfway through, until golden and tender, about 25 minutes.2. To make dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor jar. Pulse to make a dressing! You can also puree it very fine, but I like this dressing to be little chunky, so I pulsed instead of speedy processing.
- 3. Transfer dressing to a glass jar or container and set aside. Additional Notes: Pictures are proof, I too made it ahead! everything cooked at night, packed for lunch in the morning!
- 4. To cook quinoa, rinse quinoa, add to a medium saucepan with salt and 1/2 cup of water, bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is tender and sprouted, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
- 5. Step 2-4 can be finished while squash is roasting. Once squash is tender, transfer it to a salad bowl. Add quinoa, half of the dressing and toss to combine gently. Mix in micro greens just before serving. Drizzle rest of the dressing on top. Serve immediately or at room temperature!
Savita's Recipe Notes:
Qunioa can be cooked while squash is roasting. So cooking time for this salad is highest of two i.e. time taken to roast squash.
You can also add a 1/4 cup of toasted pecans to this salad for some crunch.
Make Ahead : All components of this salad can be cooked a day before. I roasted squash, made dressing, cooked quinoa at night. In morning, to pack for lunch, I tossed everything in dressing and added micro greens on the side. Roasted squash and dressing can be refrigerated, in separate airtight containers, for up to 2 days.
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