When Healthy Meets Delicious: Beet and Butternut Squash Tri-Color Quinoa Salad with a Maple Dressing
If you are crazy for quinoa, this salad is for you! Healthy doesn’t have to be boring and this salad is far from that. This is the perfect example of when healthy meets delicious! Its vibrant colors from the beets, butternut squash, chives and the bright white goat cheese radiate from the bowl making it eye catching and not to mention drool worthy almost instantly. It is a salad that is great for almost any occasion and can be enjoyed alone or paired with your favorite proteins.
Succulent beets, tender butternut squash, silky goat cheese, nutty marcona almonds, chewy dried cranberries, fresh chives and earthy quinoa all get tossed together in a sweet tangy maple dressing. It is a non-leafy salad that is so scrumptious and contains the right amount of fall vibes in one bowl.
If you are in need of a meal prep, dinner, lunch, holiday, weekday or weekend salad idea, I got you covered! This quinoa salad is the real deal because it is ideal for all or any of those occasions and needs above. It is nutritious, flavorful and filling and can act as a main meal or a side dish.
Did I mention that this salad is also beyond easy and fast to make? How? Well, I purchase already peeled and cut butternut squash cubes from the store. It makes things much easier as well as cuts the prep time. In addition, I purchase already cold cooked and peeled beets. You can easily source them in the produce section at your local grocery store, they typically come in a small box.
I always disliked cooking with beets, not because it is hard. But, mostly because although the color of them is gorgeous, it is also very messy and can stain easily. So, to help solve that problem, I purchase already cooked and peeled beets so all you need to do is open the box and cut them. Done and Done! The only real cooking that is involved is the quinoa and I like cooking it in vegetable stock or chicken broth to give it a little bit of extra flavor as opposed to cooking it in water.
This salad will definitely be making an appearance at our Thanksgiving table. But, until then I will also be having it for lunch and dinner this week because it is that good! If you made this and loved it tag @prettyplatebymichelle or #prettyplatebymichelle on instagram. I would love to see where and for what occasion this made an appearance at!
Serves 6, INGREDIENTS: For the Salad
1/2 Cup dried cranberries
1/2 Cup salted Marcona almonds
1 Cup uncooked tri-color quinoa + 1 and 1/3 Cup broth
1 Cup butternut squash, cooked + 2 TBSP olive oil
8 Oz. cold cooked beets, chopped (I used the Lovebeets brand from Whole Foods)
1 TSP Fresh chopped chives
Goat cheese, as much or as little as you want
INGREDIENTS: For the Dressing
1/4 Cup pure maple syrup
Fresh lemon juice from half a lemon
1 TBSP garlic minced
1/4 TSP black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP Apple cider vinegar
In a pot add your quinoa and your broth. Heat on medium to high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower your heat to low and simmer for 17 minutes or until quinoa has spiraled and liquid has evaporated. When done remove from heat and transfer to a bowl and let cool.
While your quinoa is cooking, heat a pan with 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Add your butternut squash and cook for 10-15 minutes or until they become tender. Make sure to mix and stir every so often. When done, remove from heat and let cool.
Chop your already cooked beets and Place in a bowl. Set aside. Thinly slice and chop your chives, set aside.
Make your dressing by adding: maple syrup, lemon juice, minced garlic, black pepper, salt, dried oregano and apple cider vinegar to a bowl. Whisk well and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together quinoa, cranberries, marcona almonds, butternut squash, beets and chives. Pour dressing over the top and mix again.
When ready to serve top with goat cheese crumbles. Serve right away or place in the fridge and cool for 30 minutes before serving.
PRETTY PLATE KITCHEN ITEMS USED: