Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter Quinoa Salad with Pear and Squash

I'm finally back in Boston.  Finally back to somewhat of a normal schedule.  Finally back to my teeny tiny kitchen.

And thank goodness.  I was starting to miss it.  And you.  Two blog posts over three weeks isn't exactly what I call sufficient.  But it's a new year, new semester, and time to get back to blogging on a more regular basis.  You can even expect to see a Meal Plan Monday next week.  Gasp.  I know.  It's been a while.

This dish came from somewhat of a compulsive habit that I have when browsing through cookbooks.  You see, I like to browse through cookbooks...quite often.  And I'll do it anytime I spot something of interest, whether that be at work, a bookstore, or another person's kitchen.  And then as I'm browsing I'll find something that makes my mouth like any logical person I whip out my phone and take a picture of the recipe.  Which is brilliant in my opinion.

But that creates a space issue.  As I was sitting in the airport on the way back from Missouri I realized that a large majority of my pictures are recipes.  And unfortunately, I rarely revisit these recipes or go the next step and actually make them.

As I was getting rid of the ones not worthy of keeping, I stopped on this one and couldn't decide whether to delete it immediately or run to the kitchen and make it.  I decided on the latter as more of a challenge.  The flavor combinations were far too interesting to delete.  Soy, sesame, balsamic, cinnamon, and allspice?  Sun-dried tomatoes and pears?  Don't get me wrong.  I love all of those things.  But they don't tend to end up in a bowl together.

And guess what?  I totally loved it.  Something about this combination created fireworks in my mouth.  And the quinoa goodness.  Adding the soy, sesame, and spices to the water while the quinoa is cooking was a miraculous discovery.  I actually don't know if I'll ever go back.  The night I made it I served it warm with a bit of tofu on the side.  The next day for lunch I had it cold over a bed of greens.  Both were equally delicious and deserve your nod of approval.

Makes: 2 main dish servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes (with cooling time)

{Printable Recipe}

1 1/2 cups butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and pepper to taste
1 pear, halved, cored, and diced
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
slivered almonds
feta cheese

  1. Place the squash in a microwavable bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 7-8 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife.  Let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork.  Let cool to almost room temperature.  Gently fold in squash, pear, and tomatoes.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and olive oil.  Spoon over the quinoa mixture and toss lightly.  Arrange the salad on a platter or individual plates and serve and top with slivered almonds and feta cheese.  Serve warm or chilled.


  1. This salad looks fantastic! Love the pear and butternut squash combination. This is going on my "to make" list for sure. Awesome recipe! *hugs* Hope you are having a great weekend!

  2. This was delicious! I loved the flavor combinations!


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