This clean eating butternut pecan quinoa salad makes a great side dish or even a main course for vegans and vegetarians!
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a quinoa recipe! I just got away from making it for a while and then I went low carb for good long while and gave up all grains. But now that I’m going plant based, I brought out my old, oversized quinoa storage jar and placed it in the front of my pantry shelving and I’m filling that puppy right up to the tippy top of the jar with tons of beautiful quinoa!
Quinoa is fabulous stuff. It has all 9 amino acids in it, just like meat, and if it’s prepared well, it’s crazy delicious! I far prefer it to rice or most other grains.
The trick with quinoa is to rinse it super well before you cook it. Even if the package says it was pre-washed, wash it again. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a really awful, bitter-ish flavor. So rinse, rinse rinse!
I use warm water and put the quinoa into a fine-mesh sieve. I get my hand in there and let the warm water run over everything. It’s hard to over emphasis how much you DON’T want to skip this step!
The best way to get flavor into the quinoa during cooking is to follow the package directions, but sub the water for vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you’re not vegan). Then, of course, you add any spices or seasonings. But using broth instead of water gives quinoa a really nice base for adding more flavor. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked quinoa with plain water except for maybe once or twice until I figured out how much better it tastes with broth.
With this Clean Eating Butternut Pecan Quinoa Salad recipe, the squash is heavily seasoned on purpose. If you eat it just as is, you’ll think I’ve gone crazy with the spice. It’s super strong seasoning! But once you mix the squash in with the quinoa, the spices get into the quinoa and it becomes the perfect level of seasoning. So don’t panic if you happen to taste the squash before putting it in the quinoa. I promise it’ll all work out okay in the end.
This Clean Eating Butternut Pecan Quinoa Salad is great as a side dish to a main course or even just as a main meal all by itself. Enjoy!
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CLEAN EATING BUTTERNUT PECAN QUINOA SALAD RECIPE:
This delicious salad is a perfect side dish for just about any protein-based main course, or a stand alone meal for vegans and vegetarians.
- 4 cups butternut squash (cut into small cubes)
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- 1 cup quinoa (dry)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup chickpeas (cooked at home or canned, no sugar)
- 1 cup pecans (chopped)
- salt to taste after serving
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the squash, oil and spices.
Bake at 350 F. for approximately 50 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through. Baking time will vary based on how small you cut the squash.
While the squash bakes, bring the vegetable broth to boil in a medium pot.
Add the quinoa, and bring to a boil once more. Then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed into the quinoa. Allow to cool.
When the squash and quinoa are done and both have cooled a bit, stir everything together in a large mixing bowl and season with salt to taste.
Please note that the nutrition data is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.