Quinoa, Beet, Squash and Feta Salad

Aye, I don't know about where you are, but I can tell you, that here the weather is not equalling the date. It's Spring, but we still have snow on the ground and temperatures too low to admit. Meanwhile, I'm ready to put aside the Winter stews and roasts and starting to crave lighter Spring and Summer foods. But, you must agree it's sometimes hard to enjoy a cold Summer soup like gazpacho when there is snow on the ground. So, this time of year, it's all about finding that recipe that bridges the gap.

Fortunately, for you, I ran across just this type of recipe earlier this week. A hearty salad, full of roasted veggies with a wide array of flavors to keep you going back for more. Sweet and spicy, salty and sour. Everything you could ask for and so much more. 

Insprired by the Quinoa, beetroot, squash, & feta salad, BBC Good Food, April 2013.

For the salad:
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite sized pieces
4 raw beets, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbs olive oil
2 oz hazelnuts
4 oz quinoa
5 oz baby spinach leaves
small bunch of mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 jalapeño, deseeded and finely chopped
6 oz feta, crumbled
For the dressing: 
4 tbs olive oil
2 tbs clear honey
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs dijon mustard
zest of 1 orange

1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Mix the beets, squash and oil on a baking sheet and season well. Roast about 45 minutes or until soft. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast about 8 mins or until toasted. Once toasted, cool slightly, roughly chop and set aside.
3. Rinse the quinoa in cold water, then put in a saucepan with 1 1/4c water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Leave to cool. 
4. For the dressing: combine all ingredients in a screw top jar, shake well, set aside.
5. For the salad: put everything, except the hazelnuts and feta in a bowl, pour over the dressing. Toss well. Sprinkle with feta and hazelnuts.
Serves 4 adults.

Yeah, maybe it's a bit time consuming, but I'm telling you - it's worth it. {Side note: the veggies, dressing and quinoa can be made in advance.} I served mine with a piece of simple roasted salmon, but it could definitely stand alone or go well with any protein of choice. 

I hope you try it and love it as much as we did. 

linking in with:
Stone Gable

until next time,