Quinoa Garbanzo Bean and Butternut Squash Salad
Serves: 2 to 3 large meal salads or 5-6 side salads; quinoa mixture will wilt the lettuce & appear smaller the longer it sits on top.
2-4 cups cooked quinoa
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2½ pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch cubes OR ANY Winter Squash
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Celtic sea salt
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1½ cups)
One jar of capers, drained
1 small radicchio, halved, shredded, rinsed and dried
½ lb arugula, rinsed and dried
½ – 1 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons thick white balsamic vinegar http://gourmetblends.us/
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1-tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
2-3 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
¼ – ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, garlic, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt. Toss the squash until well coated. Roast them on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper for 30 minutes, or until edges are crisp. Remove from the oven and cool.
Rinse quinoa well in a mesh colander. This is essential to remove any stones or preservative. Place quinoa and 2 or 4 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer with a couple pinches of salt. Simmer at a very low temperature for 15 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat. Keep covered (no peeking) for 5-10 minutes as remaining liquid gets absorbed.
To make the thyme vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon, salt, garlic, thyme and lemon juice. Add the white balsamic and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. The dressing should be sweet, but also a little tangy. Add a little more of the white balsamic to taste.
To assemble the salad, combine the quinoa, butternut squash, chickpeas, and capers in a mixing bowl, and then place on top of arugula and radicchio greens. Lightly dress the quinoa mixture and greens with the thyme vinaigrette and tossing gently. OR you may serve the entire salad with the dressing on the side. Either works great!
Do ahead: Prepare the quinoa and vegetable portion of the salad and store in refrigerator lightly dressed. It keeps beautifully. Reserve remainder of the vinaigrette to toss with greens just before serving.