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Quinoa, Butternut Squash, and Kale Salad

This room temperature salad is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Lately, I have had a few richer meals than usual and the aftermath has left me wanting a light detox. Without being a full blown detox, it's nice to dig my fork into a lighter fare, like the simplicity of a few good salads or soups.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups peeled, cored and diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped kale (previously washed and cleaned)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
juice of half a lemon
1 tbs Dijon mustard
French vinaigrette (recipe below)
  1. In a large pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until all the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat, fluff with a for and place in a large bowl to cool for 20 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, heat one teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook until it turns translucent. Add the garlic, butternut squash and kale. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove the lid, check that the butternut squash is tender but not mushy or hard when you poke a piece with a knife. Add the thyme and continue cooking until the all the liquid creating by the cover has evaporated.
  3. Let cool to room temperature. Gently fold the cooked quinoa and the cooked vegetables together along with the vinaigrette.
  4. Serve room temperature or cold.

French Vinaigrette
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbs olive oil
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, vinegar, and garlic. Let stand for about ten minutes.
  2. Mix in the Dijon mustard, then add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir well, then taste. If too sharp, add the additional olive oil and more salt, if necessary.
  3. If you wish to add fresh herbs, it’s best to chop and mix them in shortly before serving so they retain their flavor. This dressing will keep for about eight hours at room temperature. If you want to make it farther in advance, it’s best to add the shallots closer to serving so they don’t lose their verve.



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