… this one would take the prize: Multi-hued quinoa, steamed and tossed with roasted butternut squash, escarole and a bracing shallot, sherry and walnut oil dressing. It’s hearty enough to carry a vegetarian meal; I served it alongside roasted chicken to appease the meat lovers in my family.

The dish comes together quickly. And once it hits the table, accolades are sure to follow.

(Now you just have to figure out who to thank.)

Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 cup multi-colored quinoa, rinsed well to remove any bitterness
  • 1 small head escarole or frisee, roughly chopped to measure 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 a shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Place the shallot in a small bowl. Cover it with the sherry wine vinegar and set aside.

Cut the top portion off your butternut squash, reserving the bulbous part for another use.

Peel the squash, then cut it into 1/2-inch dice. Place it on a greased, rimmed baking sheet, then toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

While the squash is roasting, bring a large saucepan of water to a a boil. Salt it well, then add the quinoa. Boil for 10 minutes.

Drain the quinoa in a colander. Place 2 inches of water back in the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Place the colander with the quinoa over the boiling water and cover it with a lid. Steam the quinoa for 15 minutes.

When it’s done, place the steamed quinoa in a serving bowl. Add the roasted butternut squash:


Add the chopped escarole or frisee.

Season the shallot and sherry wine vinegar with salt and pepper. Whisk in the walnut oil. Taste for seasoning, then pour over the quinoa, squash and escarole. Toss well, then serve.