are quinoa salads a little too 2017?
i hope not, because this harvest quinoa salad is the salad I am going to be eating all winter long.
so let’s break it down. there are a few components to this salad, so there is a little extra time and effort involved for this salad.
each of these components can be meal prepped, made ahead or batch cooked with your other meals if you prefer. and all of these components will keep at least 3-4 days in the fridge when stored separately. then it’s just the assembling.
now, onto some tips and tricks to make sure your harvest quinoa salad is next level delicious!
avoiding bland quinoa
I have heard time and time again how boring quinoa can be and you are totally right, so I am going to show you how to avoid that.
the key to keeping quinoa flavorful is two-fold:
- cook the flavor into the quinoa. quinoa absorbs the flavors it is cooked in so if you cook it in just water, it is going to be tasteless. cook with broth or stock or add herbs, garlic, shallot or other flavor agents to amp up the flavor.
- do not overcook your quinoa. have you ever had quinoa that has the texture of a mushy porridge? that is overcooked quinoa. what we are aiming for are individual balls of quinoa that easily separate with fork but are tender enough to eat. if you are concerned about overcooking your quinoa, cook for a few minutes less than the package directions and using a tablespoon or two less liquid than the box calls for. most quinoa gets overcooked when too much liquid is added, as we tend to keep cooking it until it is all absorbed.
massage your kale
ever had a kale salad that is woody and bitter? yeah, me too and it’s the worst. you can read all about my love hate relationship with kale here.
if you don’t cook with kale a lot, here are a few tips.
- remove the stems. most varieties of kale will have some sort of woody, firm stem running down the middle. you will want to remove that. rip the leafy parts off and chop just that part, the stems are very tough and bitter.
- the smaller the pieces of kale, the easier it will be to work with. you can chop or tear the kale leaves into pieces, but the smaller, the better here
- massage your dressing into the kale. like literally with your hands. it will seem strange at first but i promise after a few minutes, the kale pieces will start to feel tender and they will be packed with flavor.
don’t skip the prosciutto crisps
i know it may seem a little extra. and it’s definitely an extra step. but these prosciutto crisps are the crouton replacement you will want in all of your salads. they are salty, crispy and add so much extra flavor and texture. just try them once, and I know you will see the need to keep making that extra little effort.
did you make this harvest quinoa salad? let me know by sharing a photo here on my IG!
Harvest Quinoa Salad with Butternut, Kale and Prosciutto
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 large bunch kale, chopped
- prosciutto crisps
for maple mustard vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinager
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- juice of half a lemon
for prosciutto crisps
- 4-5 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced
for the salad
Preheat oven to 400*
Toss butternut squash with olive and roast on a baking sheet until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Season generously with salt and set aside.
While squash is roasting, cook quinoa according to package directions in broth. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients and season with salt to taste. Set aside.
Add kale to a large serving bowl and massage with 1-2 tablespoons of dressing. Add squash and quinoa and toss well, adding just enough dressing to lightly coat. Top with crispy prosciutto. Serve any extra dressing on the side.
for the prosciutto crisps
Spread prosciutto slices onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Place baking sheet in a COLD oven and preheat to 375*
As the oven heats up, the prosciutto will begin to crisp up. By the time the oven is fully preheated, after 10-12 minutes, check the prosciutto for doneness.
Timing will vary based on the thickness of the prosciutto slices. You will know it's done with the color darkens and the edges start to curl.
Remove from oven and let cool completely on a baking sheet. The prosciutto will continue to crisp as it cools. Once completely cooled, break slices into large crisps. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.
All the components of this salad can be prepped in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
looking for more fall inspired recipes? here are a few favorites!