Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash, Cashews & Gouda

My team at the restaurant will laugh when they see this one! I always pull long faces when quinoa is mentioned, an unconscious reaction that probably dates back to some less than great meal in the ’90s. But actually I like quinoa. I like it even more combined with cashews and spice-roasted butternut squash, crisp apples, pickled beets, and beautifully aged Thunder Oak Gouda. The flavors and textures are rich and varied. This dish is colorful, warm, and just plain delicious.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced butternut squash
  • 1⁄3 cup (75 mL) whole cashews
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) red pepper flakes
  • 1 red apple, cut in wedges
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup (125 mL) Brown Derby Vinaigrette (page 60)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups (1 L) cooked red quinoa, cooled
  • ½ cup (125 mL) pickled beets, cut in wedges
  • ½ cup (125 mL) shaved Thunder Oak Gouda cheese

Brown Derby Vinaigrette

Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)

  • ½ cup (125 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) honey
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1⁄3 cups (325 mL) canola oil

For the vinaigrette

In a medium bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and lemon juice until well combined. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified. Transfer vinaigrette to a container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss squash with cashews and red pepper flakes. Spread in a single layer. Roast until squash is golden brown and fork-tender, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, gently toss together squash, cashews, apple, and green onions. Add dressing and toss until salad is well coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mound quinoa onto a platter, spoon over squash mixture, and top with beets and cheese. Serve immediately.