Arugula and Winter Squash Salad with Quinoa, Feta, Walnuts and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Photo by cookbook author and photographer Erin Alderson for her version of this recipe in her blog NaturallyElla.com


Sally tells me that 11/17/15 the farm share for Glade Road Growing will include butternut squash, carrots, arugula, salad mix, kale, garlic and a big hakurai turnip.  Since the arugula is sweet enough in the cooler weather to eat raw, I thought I'd make a main course salad.  Mine adds pomegranate seeds and uses walnuts instead of pecans and a bit of balsamic vinegar dressing, rather than honey, but this picture was just so beautiful, that when I found it, I stopped looking for something more representative.


Serves 6

1.  Preheat your conventional over to 450 degrees, unless you are going to use a counter top convection over, as I do.   Rinse the butternut squash and cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and reserve to roast.  Put the squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast in oven for about 40 minutes, until tender.  Remove and let cool enough to handle.  Pull the peel away and then dice the squash into 1/2 inch cubes.  (Some folks peel and cube the squash first, but that's not as easy.

2. While the squash is roasting, cook 1 cup of raw quinoa by bringing it to a boil in a heavy-bottomed lidded sauce pan with two cups of cold water.  Remove from oven and drain water and rinse well to remove the saponin, which coats the grain and can make it bitter.  Add 1 3/4 cups of fresh cold water, cover  and return to a boil and simmer for five minutes.  Turn off heat and let sit for at least 20 minutes. 

3.  While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the pomegranate by slicing 1/4-inch off of the stem end  and placing the fruit cut side down on the cutting board to stabilize it. The pomegranate's blossom end, the one that looks like a crown, should be on top.  Use the paring knife to a cut a circle around the blossom end, angling in and cut it out.  Make several cuts from top to bottom around the pomegranate just through the red part of the skin.  Working over a large bowl, gently pry open the pomegranate and pry away the seeds from the peel and membranes.  Discard the peel and membranes.

  Rinse the arugula in a basin of cool water.  Drain and wash a second time in clean water, then put in a colander to drain.

5.  To make the vinaigrette, combine the following in a bottle with a well-fitting lid:
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar or lime juice
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for fat-free version, substitute either 1 tablespoon fruit juice concentrate--apple or white grape--and 3 tablespoons water OR 4 tablespoons wine)
1 teaspoon your favorite sweetener (honey, agave, demerara sugar)
2 peeled and crushed cloves free garlic and/or 1 T finely minced onion. 

 6.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork and toss with the arugula with the pomegranate seeds and the squash, 2/3 cup of crumbled feta and 1/2 cup of walnuts  in a large bowl.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.