Quinoa, Butternut Squash, Pomegranate Salad with Pumpkin Seeds


I'm not much into salads. There I said it. The salad played a essential but minor role in meals growing up. It was never, ever considered a main meal. It's because the type of salads we had nicely complemented the Rice & Curry and gave that extra tang or crunch.
There was the cucumber salad which I love. Sliced cucumbers mixed with chopped onions and green chillies with a bit of fresh coconut milk and lime juice. I would sprinkle the liquid to my rice and the dish is elevated to the next level where I'd easily finsh off two portions.
And the raw grated carrot salad. Same method as the cucumber salad without the coconut milk. Then there's the Gotukola salad. These are the salad we had mostly on rotation and was never eaten on it's own. So I could never bring myself to have a salad as a main meal.

It all changed when I started using Quinoa for my husband, I love how versatile the grain is. I would never use white rice in a salad but with Quinoa, it being a protein source, I wanted to give it a try. I wasn't dissappointed and I absolutely loved it. I had made this salad for lunch the other day and had nothing else so the kids had to eat it too. Ahyaan loved it but with Ammar (the elder of the twins) as usual with any new food, he needed cajoling. But I was glad it came out well and we all enjoyed with less work in the kitchen.

Since the summer is already here in Ireland, I'll be making more salads for lunch. This is the month of Ramadan, so this salad will be a lovely addition to the Iftar Menu. This salad doesn't weigh you down and keeps you full. That's very important given the small time frame we have in this part of the world to eat after breaking the fast, that is from sunset to next day 2 hours before sunrise. That's about 5 hours where you have to eat, do the night prayers and get some sleep.
Have the different parts of the salad cooked and prepped early. Then you can assemble it whenever needed. I normally cook extra quinoa and store it in the fridge. Remove pomegranate seeds and have it in a container in the fridge. Butternut Squash is a staple in my pantry. I cut half of the squash for the salad to roast. And the other half, the bulbous seeded part, I roasted in the same oven to be used in soups later. And I buy pre-washed and portioned greens. Are you a salad lover, just got in to salads, what are you favorites ? Let me know..

Print Recipe

Quinoa, Butternut Squash, Pomegranate Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
A colorful and lovely salad full of flavor and crunch.
  • 1 cups Quinoa
  • 3 cup Butternut Squash. cut into thick strips
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tbsp Pumkin Seeds
  • 1 cup Mild Greens like Lamb's lettuce and Red chard
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
Measure the quinoa into a strainer. Rinse it under running water for few minutes until the water runs clear. In a pan add the rinsed quinoa, chicken stock, 1 tbsp of oil and saolt and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling turn the heat to low, cover and simmer it for 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let it cool.Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius for 10 minutes. Toss the squash strips in a tablespoon of olive oil and salt. Spread it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast it for 20 minutes until they are done and slightly browned on the edges. Take out of the oven and let it cool.A few minutes before serving, to a bowl add the cooked quinoa, strips of squash, pomegranate seeds, and the greens. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, approximately 2 teaspoons. I like to keep it less sour but you can add more. Toss everything together. Serve with pumkin seeds sprinkled on top.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

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