roasted kabocha squash and quinoa salad

Yesterday, I saw a green pumpkin like squash at the farmer’s market. After further inquiry, I learned it is called a kabocha squash and has similar characteristics to butternut squash. It is commonly called a Japanese pumpkin and is believed to have aphrodisiac properties in some cultures (so lay off the the rhino horn and shark fins). I also found the most perfect and gigantic pomegranates and naturally couldn’t resist. My brain instantly combined the two ingredients and yearned to transform them into a salad using quinoa (which I had leftovers from the day prior). The resulting dish is fantastic and truly represents fall to me. Not only is it a great dish on it’s own, I also think it would make a great vegan stuffing substitute or a healthy side for your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner!

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2.5 pound kabocha squash

Ingredients
1 small kabocha squash
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa follow instructions on bag
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 orange zest and juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Scrub the outside of the kabocha with a scouring pad and hot water. Cut kabocha in half, scoop out and discard the seeds with a spoon.  Now cut the squash into 1/2 inch cubes leaving the skin intact. *Do not attempts this unless you have a large, sturdy and sharp knife! Place the kabocha in a roasting pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast 400 degrees 30 mins tossing every 10 minutes. While the kabocha is roasting cook the quinoa following the instructions on the container. Cool quinoa and kabucha before combining in fridge. About 30 minutes should do the trick. Finally, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with your hands. Season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy! This can be made ahead of time and holds up great!

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What I drank…
I had just finished shooting a recipe for an Italian Spris Cocktail and figured why not?! The orange in the cocktail complemented the orange juice in the salad, while, it’s bright and bitter flavors balanced out the creaminess of the squash. Interesting pairing to say the least! I’m certain a crisp acidic white would’ve worked too.

Italian Spris

Italian Spris

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