With its nutty flavor, quick-cooking quinoa lends itself to a variety of preparations. Here, the grain is tossed with caramelized butternut squash and garlic (leave garlic cloves unpeeled during roasting; their paper shell keeps them from burning while turning the insides into a soft, sweet spread). Coat a bunch of wilted kale with the tangy garlic mixture, and toss the salad together. Toasted pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, add crunch. Serve as a meatless entree or as a side dish with roast chicken.
|2||pounds peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes|
|5||cloves garlic, unpeeled|
|1||tablespoon canola oil|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|2||tablespoons cider vinegar|
|¼||cup olive oil|
|1||bunch kale, stemmed, leaves thinly sliced|
|¼||cup shredded Parmesan|
|4||scallions, thinly sliced|
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Spread the pepitas on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast, turning often, for 10 minutes. Leave to cool.
2. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss butternut squash and garlic with canola oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until caramelized on the bottom; cool.
3. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the quinoa, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until the grains are aromatic. Add the water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork; cool.
4. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, peel each clove and transfer to a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar.
5. Wipe out the skillet. Add the olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Cook the kale, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until wilted. Stir in the garlic mixture. Add the kale mixture to the quinoa with the squash, Parmesan, and scallions. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Garnish with toasted pepitas.
Karoline Boehm Goodnick