Entrees · Vegetarian

Fall Table: Warm Quinoa, Roasted Squash, Goat Cheese & Honey Pecan Salad

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This recipe has “Thanksgiving” written all over it. It’s almost as good a treat to rival your dessert & am not even kidding. Funny thing is, not too long ago, I used to wince and squirm at the mere thought of consuming squash. True story. But the worst part of the story is, I had never even tried squash! Not a single variety. I had somehow formed a mental aversion to this delicious vegetable. I would often be lured by a beautiful display of squash at the Farmers Market & buy a few just for “decor purposes”. In true Aleyda fashion, I would bring them home and have them sit over my kitchen table looking pretty and seasonal (the same table which is oddly where I now photograph all my food). I made a deal with squash: “I can take you home & give you a place to stay, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever eat you”.

That was all about to change when I tried an epic, creamy, sweet, butternut squash soup. That Fall, I took the plunge and started dicing & slicing my “decorations”. Boy they were good! I used to do a simple oven bake of light olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper. I once even sprinkled brown sugar on them, and that was quite enjoyable. But since I’ve given up ALL forms of refined sugars, this recipe uses pure maple syrup as a glaze and it’s AH-mazing!

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Let’s face it, squash is not an easy vegetable to cut. You need a good kitchen knife! I washed it with abundant water & placed them over a cutting board. I’m going to guide you through a really easy recipe as well as tips on how to cut it and coat them well before baking. Let’s get going!

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Ingredients (Makes 4-6 Servings. Total Prep Time: 1 hr 10 minutes)

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 cup of quinoa (any variety would do)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of goat cheese crumbles (I use organic cheese, only)
  • 1/2 cup of honey roasted pecans or regular pecans
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil for the squash
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil for the quinoa
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

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Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400F & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the acorn squash (smaller, green one) into 4 sections by doing a criss-cross. All 4 halves will be equal. Use a spoon to seed them. Then cut each piece into 4 smaller “slices”. I leave the peel on.
  3. Cut the butternut squash in half, & again, remove the seeds with a spoon. Place each butternut half face down & cut vertically and then horizontally to form “cubes”. I like to leave the peel on. The peel keeps the squash uber moist as it’s baking. It tastes great, but it’s also easy to remove once baked.
  4. Place the acorn slices & butternut squash cubes into a big bowl
  5. Add maple syrup, olive oil, sea salt, & pepper. Toss around to coat it.
  6. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. P.S. your house will smell great!
  7. While the squash bakes, I like to prep my quinoa by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil inside a small stock pot. I like to drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil & sea salt into the water. Some people like to cook it in chicken stock for more flavor or to add garlic or a little dill- entirely up to you!
  8. Once it’s boiling, add the quinoa and give it a good stir. Lower to low-medium heat & cover the stock pot with a lid. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes while stirring often & then remove from the stove.
  9. Now it’s assembly time: a bed of quinoa topped with roasted, caramelized maple squash, goat cheese that will soon be melting & honey pecans. You can buy the honey pecans or make them- I have a dessert recipe showing you all the steps already on the blog if you’re interested in making your own.

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Enjoy it warm! A really good friend said it was like “A Hug in a Bowl”.

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