Autumnal Quinoa Salad

September 29, 2010
Author Notes

I created this recipe with Michael Pollan's "Food Rules" in mind. I don't always follow the rules- but this recipe is a favorite and one that I make often. One rule I took to heart is "Drink the Spinach Water." I cook the quinoa ahead, using saved spinach and chard water.

  • Makes 4 small servings; 2 main dish servings
  • For the Salad
  • 1 cup quinoa (color of your choice!)
  • 1 acorn squash, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 2 northern spy apples, diced
  • 1 cup Arugula
  • 1 small bunch of chard, about 5 leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Toasted Pecans
  • 1/4 cup Toasted Pepitas
  • Simple Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
In This Recipe
  1. First, roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 375. Use 1 tablespoon of olive oil to oil the pan- make sure it is evenly coated or the squash will stick. Sprinkle squash with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Combine the cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture on top of the squash. Use your hands to make sure the squash is even coated with oil and spices. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook your quinoa according to the package instructions.
  2. At the fifteen minute mark, add the apple pieces. Roast for another 10 minutes. Using a fork, test the acorn squash for doneness. It should be tender, but not mushy.
  3. While the roasted squash and apples are cooling, strip the leaves from the stalks of chard. Cut the leaves into ribbons. Save the stalks for another use.
  4. Assemble the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a mason jar or other container with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until ingredients form an emulsion.
  5. Remove the skin from the squash. Dice the squash into bite size pieces. Combine the squash, apples, warm quinoa, arugula and chard into a bowl. The warm quinoa will gently wilt the arugula and chard, so that they are tender but not overcooked. Add the vinaigrette and combine well. Top with the toasted pepitas and pecans before serving.

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Dedicated locavore. I spend my weekends on the back roads (often lost!) looking for the best ingredients Ohio has to offer. I am often accompanied by my husband, Mr. Radar and our dog, Buddy. Born in West Virginia, raised in Michigan, I moved to Ohio for college and have lived there on and off since. I love to meet farmers and local producers. Cooking is an extension of this love. You can follow my move from government analyst to cottage industrialist and view the food I cook for my personal mad scientist on