Seasonal, savory, splashed with color and crunch! Quinoa brings me back to my work in the Andes. A striking crop, ripe with nutrition. Unfortunately, most of the harvested grains are sold to places where more “elite eaters” are found: the U.S. and Europe. Funny, considering this was a staple peasant crop prior to its foodie-fication! Malnutrition and food insecurity have taken the place of quinoa and other native crops, but there are many efforts underway to re-introduce this cultural food. If you want more on this perplexing reality, read here.

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Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash, Leeks & Toasted Almonds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 butternut squash, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden almonds, or regular almonds
  • salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Cut a butternut squash into quarters and place flat side down in a dish of water. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes. In a small pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is fully observed. Check at least once. In the meantime, toast the almonds in a small pan. KEEP AN EYE ON THEM. The minute you turn around, they will burn. True story. When sufficiently toasted, set aside.
  2. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and let cool. When cooled, scoop out with a spoon and chop coarsely. Set aside.
  3. In a cast iron skillet or frying pan, add the extra virgin olive oil and saute the leeks for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of white wine if you have it on hand. Add the quinoa, squash, salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. Remove to a separate bowl and toss with the sun-dried tomato olive oil. Sprinkle with almonds and raisins.
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