We have eaten versions of this salad almost once a week in the past six months. I orginally discovered this recipe, for a spinach and strawberry version, that I made many times this summer. This fall, I tweaked the recipe to make a fall version of the salad, with roasted butternut squash and dried cranberries. This salad is really delicious. The quinoa is added to the salad warm, so it melts the goat cheese and wilts the spinach. It also gives the salad enough substance to stand as dinner on its own.
This recipe could be adapted endlessly: you can swap out the spinach for arugula or other leafy greens, use different fruit or roasted vegetables or nuts. Any way, it's a wonderful easy and healthy dinner.
Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Cookie + Kate, chesapeaketaste.com
Makes 2 large dinner portions
1 cup butternut squash chunks
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
4 cups baby spinach
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled + 2 tablespoons goat cheese, reserved
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
For the Dressing:
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 415. Toss the butternut squash with a little olive oil and spread on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until fork-tender but not falling apart. Set aside.
2. Rinse quinoa well with cold water. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil; stir in quinoa, bring back to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
3. While quinoa is cooking, whisk ingredients for dressing together and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, toss together the warm quinoa and the 2 oz. of goat cheese. Add the spinach and dressing and toss everything until evenly dressed. Add the pecans and cranberries.
5. Top each plate with some of the reserved goat cheese and serve!
Linking up with