You can call this dish ‘pilaf’ or ‘warm salad’. This hearty quinoa mix provides a wonderful vegetarian meal, but If you add shish kabobs, steaks or chops, braised lamb or chicken to it the salad transforms into a tasty side dish. This healthy pilaf-salad could make a great company for a holiday turkey as well.
Do you have turkey leftovers? Add meaty pieces to the quinoa mix and your family will enjoy this quick, easy to make and very delicious pilaf.
The salad stores well in a refrigerator and could be reheated without compromising its taste.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 12 oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- ¾ – 1 cup dried cranberries
- ¾ -1 cup very coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts (I have almond slices)
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp cumin (optional)
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup or more olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
Add salt and 2 cups of water to one cup of quinoa. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, turn the heat to low, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook quinoa for 12 minutes. Check the quinoa for doneness. If the grain is not ready, cook covered for another 3-7 minutes. Fluff gently with a fork.
In a dip skillet heat the olive oil, add the squash and the onion and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add spices and stir. Add dried cranberries and nuts. Add hot quinoa, lemon juice, some olive oil and stir gently. Serve hot or warm.
Salad could be served on a bed of arugula or baby spinach.
Cranberries can be substituted with dried cherries or chopped dried apricots.
Cook with pleasure!