When I was growing up, the only type of salads that were on the menu were ones with iceberg lettuce that were drowning in ranch dressing. They just weren’t a big thing when I was a kid.
As I got a big older, I became inspired by the salad bar at our local Rax Roast Beef Restaurant. For those of you who don’t know, this was a fast food restaurant popular in the ’80s.
Pretty crazy that my first love of vegetables came from a fast food establishment. I am pretty sure that in my late teens and early twenties, the only time I ever ate salad was when I ordered it out.
Now, the opposite is true.
I rarely order a salad out, because I’m convinced that I can make a better one at home. And I make salads at home ALL the time.
It is funny how the way we eat evolves over time. When I was younger, I craved sweets. Now I crave salty. And veggies! Thank God I crave veggies and eating them doesn’t feel like a chore to me. This makes up for the fact that I also crave wine and cheese, right?
Today’s Roasted Butternut Squash Cranberry & Arugula Quinoa Salad is just the kind of salad I love. It makes a great vegan meal, but also works beautifully as a side.
How have your eating habits changed over time?
- 2lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup water + ½ tablespoon chia seeds OR ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- If using chia gel in place of oil, combine water and chia seeds. Stir well with a fork and set aside to form a gel.
- In a large bowl combine butternut squash chunks, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss until well combined and place on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine arugula, quinoa, sunflower seeds and cranberries. Make the dressing by combining chia gel or oil, vinegar, maple syrup and lemon juice in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste and whisk again.
- Add cooled squash to the arugula mixture. Drizzle desired amount of dressing and toss gently. Serve immediately.
- If preparing ahead, wait until just prior to serving to toss.
Servings 6, Calories 153, Fat 4.4g, Carbohydrates 27.5g, Protein 4.1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 166mg, Fiber 4.5g, Sugars 3.8g
Dressing, with chia seeds
Servings 6, Calories 16, Fat .4g, Carbohydrates 2.9g, Protein .2g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 1mg, Fiber 0g, Sugars 2g
Dressing, with oil
Servings 6, Calories 83, Fat 8.4g, Carbohydrates 2.4g, Protein 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 1mg, Fiber 0g, Sugars 2g