A sweet, nutty, chewy, crunchy delicious salad. Drizzled with a light, tangy and sweet lemon, honey, olive oil dressing. This salad is has such an amazing taste you’ll want to eat it every night!
When I first saw this salad on The Kitchen McNabe I knew that I just had to make it! I’m sure you agree that this salad looks amazing. And it tastes even better! The wheat berries add a nutty flavour and a chewy texture. The roasted butternut squash has s wonderful robust flavour and is tender crisp so it isn’t mushy. The dried cranberries add a bit of sweetness to the salad and the quinoa and spinach are loaded with iron, protein and fibre. Really this salad has everything! Even before adding the tangy sweet dressing the salad tastes amazing. It has just the right balance of flavour and texture. Make it tonight, you won’t be disappointed.
This salad is a quite a bit more work then I am typically prepared to do for a salad; most of the time salads for me are chop fresh vegetables, toss in a large bowl and serve. This one you will need to do some roasting, cooking of the grains and onions before the salad comes together. But believe me, it is totally worth every second!
Start by roasting the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 425F. Peel and cube a medium butternut squash. In a large bowl, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread on a tin foil lined baking pan. Roast the squash for about 15 minutes, or until tender, but not mushy, and lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool.
While the squash is roasting, cook the quinoa and wheat berries. I used 1 cup of regular quinoa and 1/2 cup each red and black quinoa. This salad would taste just as amazing with whatever colour you have on hand. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
Cook 3/4 cup wheat berries (sometimes called wheat kernels) according to package instructions (note I cooked mine for about 45 minutes as most of the water was absorbed and I liked the chewy texture from cooking it less then recommended). I found these at my local bulk barn. A wheat berry/kernel is made up of three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. These are a high source of protein.
While the berries and quinoa are cooking you’ll have time to caramelize the onions. Now I was so tempted to just chop up a sweet onion and call it a day but I thought I’d give this caramelizing a try. It does take a lot of time to caramelize onions correctly, like an hour of time!! Caramelizing enhances the natural flavour of the onion and turns them tender, sweet but still savoury. I had no idea when I started that it was going to take an hour just for the onions. In the end I don’t think I actually made them correctly, I definitely didn’t cook them for an hour, more like 20 minutes. I don’t think I have the patience for the full hour. 🙂 I still liked the taste and texture of the cooked onion in the salad. If you want to caramelize and need some instructions, try reading www.thekichn.com/how-to-caramelize-onions-35933. It sounds easy enough, in a pan heat olive oil or butter, add thinly sliced onion and slowly cook, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. Let me know how it works for you.
Okay, so once the squash is roasted, quinoa and wheat berries cooked and onions caramelized its time to put the salad together.
In a large bowl, add spinach and dried cranberries. Add the squash, quinoa, wheat berries and onions. Toss.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad before serving. Toss to coat.
- 2 -4 cups spinach leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced, caramelized
- 2 cups quinoa, colour of your choice
- 3/4 cup wheat berries
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Peel and cube a medium butternut squash. In a large bowl, toss with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread on a tin foil lined baking pan. Roast the squash for about 15 minutes, or until tender, but not mushy, and lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
- Cook wheat berries according to package instructions *See note*
- Caramelize the onions. *See note*
- In a large bowl, add spinach and dried cranberries. Add the squash, quinoa, wheat berries and onions. Toss.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad before serving. Toss to coat.
- I cooked mine for about 45 minutes as most of the water was absorbed and I liked the chewy texture from cooking it less then recommended.
- Read www.thekichn.com/how-to-caramelize-onions-35933 for more detailed instructions on how to caramelize onions