#MeatlessMonday Recipe: Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

#MeatlessMonday Recipe: Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

Happy #MeatlessMonday! It’s our very first #MeatlessMonday post, and in the spirit of autumn and all things pumpkin, we’ve got this delicious salad made with butternut pumpkin (also known as butternut squash). This orange veggie is packed with beta-carotene; the body converts this into Vitamin A, which is important for vision, cell growth, and the immune system. Quinoa is an ideal grain to incorporate into your #meatlessmonday meals because it’s a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need but cannot synthesize.

This is a great option if you have some leftover pumpkin after Thanksgiving – it’s delicious warm or cold! Give this recipe a try tonight and don’t forget to use the hashtag #SWEATmeals to see what other #SWEATMEs are cooking up!

Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

  • One butternut pumpkin/squash (approx. 3-4 lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (3-4 cups total)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (no sugar added!)
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 ounces baby spinach
  • ¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese shavings (or preferred cheese, feta is a good alternative), optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 390°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Toss the chopped squash in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or more if needed, just enough so that the squash is lightly coated) and thyme. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and spread squash out into a single layer. Roast until a knife or fork slides into the squash with no resistance, about 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through the cooking time.

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa under cold water in a fine-mesh strainer. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil and add the quinoa. Simmer, uncovered, until a small white spiral becomes visible in each grain and the broth has been absorbed, about 9-10 minutes.

Put the pistachios on a small baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 5 minutes (no oil needed). Combine in a medium bowl with the cooked quinoa, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, cranberries, and vinegar.

Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl and toss with the hot squash until slightly wilted. Add the quinoa mixture and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste, top with cheese (optional), and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.