For me, winter squash, apples, cranberries, nuts and pumpkin seeds are the staples of fall. Their crimson red, fiery orange, and green hues mirror the falling leaves. The flavors are warm and comforting. Plus you can go sweet or savory with both - making everything from pumpkin pancakes to cookies to baked apples and squash soup.
Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season, and that includes its food. However, this year, I'm leaving for Nepal for a month from mid-October through early November. So I have had to cram as many fall recipes into the couple weeks before I leave now that winter squash is in. Of course, winter squash with their tough protective shells can be kept in a cool, dark place until about March.
Last week I decided to make an Autumn Crunch Salad, but this week I got a little more creative. This Quinoa Squash Cranberry "Dressing" is awesome. It's only October, but this warm savory dish elicits Thanksgiving cravings. It has all the fall colors and fixin's beautiful fluffy red quinoa, orange nutty butternut squash, tangy dried cranberries, and salty pumpkin seeds all topped with a red wine vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is a combo of our Red Wine Vinaigrette (or use the leftover brine from your black olives) and Greek EVOO with a touch of dijon and maple. It can easily stand alone as a healthy lunch or bowl-style dinner, yet it is easily beautiful enough to serve to guests as a unique seasonal side. Not only is it delicious, but it's vegan, gluten free, and dairy free, so nearly everyone can enjoy it.
Quinoa Squash Cranberry "Dressing"
Dish Type: Side
Time: 40 min
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 1 cup red quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
- 1/4 cup pepitas, or roasted salted pumpkin seeds
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup real extra virgin olive oil (you can trust Healthy Harvest Greek EVOO, its lab tested for purity!)
- 3 tbsp Red Wine Vinaigrette
- 1/2 tsp dijon
- 1/2 tsp maple
1. Preheat the oven to 400. (If you have extra time, turning the oven down to 350 will preserve more antioxidants in the olive oil). Peel the butternut squash and slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Then dice in 1-inch cubes. Drizzle with HH Greek olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in oven 20-25 minutes, or until pierced easily with a fork.
2. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust.
3. Combine quinoa, squash, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl or serving dish. Add dressing. Serve warm.