The temperature is shooting high, the boots and sweaters are barely needed and it’s so beautifully sunny all the time. We are in spring! The day-light-saving, sun kissed dinning hours and the gorgeous cherry blossoms highlighting the streets, I love it all. Looks like finally the rain stopped and sunny days are here to stay. And, so with the first signs of spring, I bring you Fennel Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa. It’s a spring like salad with a hint of flavor from winter.
I absolutely love acorn squash. The forest green edible skin with the pale yellow dense flesh, it’s a treat to the eye. It tastes best when roasted, especially with a hint of fennel seeds sprinkled on top. As it cooks, the flesh becomes buttery and sweet fruity aroma gets released from the fennel seeds. It can get quite addictive. But try not to finish it all and save some for the salad.
Typically for salad, I go with simple lemon vinaigrette. But this salad dressing has Dijon mustard in it, which added the right amount to zing to balance the sweetness from the squash. And because I love some fresh fruits in my salad, some green grapes went it as well. Needless to say, it added a nice touch of color too. Finally, some handful of crushed walnuts for that crunch. All in all, it’s a perfect comforting salad that tastes good warm or at room temperature.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 cup green grapes, cut in half
- ¼ cup walnuts, mildly crushed
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
for the vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tiny shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
- Cut the stem off the acorn squash and then cut it in half from the top down. Remove the seeds and then cut each half into ½ inch strips.
- Slice the onion into big chunks of 1-inch strips.
- Layer the onion, garlic slices and acorn squash in a baking pan. Drizzle oil, sprinkle salt and add the fennel seeds. Rub it nicely and allow it to roast for 20 minutes. Then, flip the squash on the other side and roast for another 5 minutes.
- While the squash gets cooked, prepare the quinoa. In a pan, mix quinoa with 1-1/2 cup water and bring it to a boil. Once done, reduce it to simmer and allow it to cook until water is absorbed. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Once done, take it off heat and let it rest for five more minutes. Later, fluff it using a fork.
- For the salad dressing, in a bowl or jar, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and give it a mix.
- Once the onion and acorn squash are roasted, toss the cooked quinoa with half of the vinaigrette and layer it in a serving plate. Then, scatter the grapes and top it with roasted squash and onion. Drizzle some more vinaigrette and finally, add some walnuts.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.