Wednesday, October 16, 2013

quinoa salad with chard, hazelnuts, & cranberries

I thought this salad was perfect for the newly, slightly cooler, weather. I love squash and was going to include some left overs into the dish, but thought it might get all smushed. Plated on the side, it became incorporated just the same.

1 cup roasted and chopped butternut squash (don't bother with the peel if it's soft)
1 cup quinoa
2 green onions, white and some of the green
2 cups of chopped chard, big stems removed first
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 cup raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries

for the dressing-
3 TB sherry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp zatar
1/2 tsp honey or agave, optional
salt and pepper to taste

While the quinoa is cooking, get everything else together. To toast the hazelnuts, put them in a dry pan, and toss them around until they become fragrant and start to darken. Then dump them onto a cutting board and mash with the back of a wooden spoon. Most of the peel will come away with this, but I didn't fuss too much about that. Chop the carrot, chard, and onion, and add to a bowl. You could use spinach, but I like chard because it won't wilt as much. Let the quinoa cool only slightly before combining with the rest of the ingredients. Add the nuts and cranberries and stir in the vinaigrette.  Zatar is a Middle Eastern spice containing thyme, sumac, sesame seeds...if you don't have any, you could add a pinch of thyme. I wouldn't over do it because it isn't cooked and the flavors can be pretty strong. You won't need all of the dressing.

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