Moroccan Butternut Squash Salad

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This is a recipe based on one from Kinfolk Magazine (who, incidentally, just published their own cookbook…which INSTANTLY made my Christmas list.) The original recipe is Moroccan Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad. I wanted to make this from a side dish to a main dish, hence the major change: I used quinoa instead of rice.  (Also, quinoa is a much faster-cooking grain, and I was cooking on a deadline.)

I am also very much in favor of adding any produce you have lying around (within reason), so I added potatoes and bell peppers to the recipe. If you try the original recipe, let me know what you think!

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   1 1/2 cups white quinoa
   2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (1/2″-3/4″ cubes)
   1 lb russet potatoes, cubed (1/2″-3/4″ cubes)
   1 lb sweet onions, sliced thin and halved
   1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
   1/2 green or yellow bell pepper, julienned
   1 cup craisins
   2 cups parsley leaves, chopped
   5 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional to coat the squash/potato cubes
   Juice of 1 lemon
   Juice of 1 lime
   1 3/4 teaspoons salt (total)
   1 3/4 teaspoons cumin (total)
   1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon (total)
   1 3/4 teaspoons turmeric (total)
   Pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse quinoa and put in pot with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 10 minutes,  then remove from heat. Allow to sit covered for a bit – any excess water will be absorbed. Fluff and put into a large serving bowl.

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In a large bowl, toss cubed squash and potatoes with enough olive oil to coat, and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric. Run through with your hands to make sure cubes are coated well and evenly. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper and spread the cubes in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges  begin to brown and crisp, but not burn. Once done, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown. Remove from the pan, straining out excess oil, and add to the serving bowl.  In the remaining oil, fry the bell peppers and then add to the serving bowl.

salad

In a small bowl, prepare the dressing: 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon and lime juices, and a heaping teaspoon each of salt, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric, and a pinch of cayenne pepper as desired. Add to serving bowl and stir well, so that dressing is absorbed by the quinoa evenly. Add the squash and potato cubes, parsley, and craisins and toss salad well. Serve at current temperature or refrigerated.

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* Some ideas for variety:

– The original recipe called for raisins instead of craisins. Craisins are what I had in the pantry, but raisins would be delicious too.
– Nuts. Any nuts. The original recipe called for toasted almonds, but I personally find that the flavor of cashews blends the best with curry spices. (About 1/2-3/4 cups would do the trick.)

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One thought on “Moroccan Butternut Squash Salad

  1. Pingback: Cilantro-Lime Lentil Salad | erin thinks (a lot)

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