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Harvest Grain Salad
Right Food for the Season - Early Fall
Written by R. Patrick Kent   

A few weeks ago, LIS was out at the Roslindale Farmers' Market for another great day of fun and food. After the success of our Tomato Day Recipe Contest [see the winning recipe here]in August, we decided to sponsor another such contest in keeping with the day's theme; Apple. The submissions had to use apple and another one or two ingredients available at the market that day. We got several great entries that really captured the flavors of fall. However, one stood out. It works as both a autumn side dish or a hearty main course. So, without further ado, the winner is...envelope, please...

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Liz Carver for her "Harvest Grain Salad"!

This dish can be served warm or cold - it tastes great either way. The butternut squash complements the sweetness from the lightly roasted apple and the dried cranberries. The walnuts add a nice crunch. Don't be afraid to try mixing up the grains - we used quinoa for this iteration, but it would well with bulghur, wheatberry, etc. Pecans could stand in for the walnuts, raisins for the cranberries. You get the idea. The first time through the recipe we tried it with acorn squash. It tasted great, but using butternut squash in its place the second time around really added a visual "warmth" to the dish.

Thanks to everyone who made a contribution to the contest!Honorable mentions go to: Alex Wise for "Apple Slaw (with a Touch of Heat)" and Tara Lightbody for "Roast Apple & Butternut Squash Soup"

 

Harvest Grain Salad

(Adapted from a suggested recipe by Liz Carver)

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa (rinsed)

4 - 6 cups water

1 - 2 teaspoons salt

1 cup butternut squash (1/2 inch cubes)

1/2 medium apple, diced

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Fresh thyme

1 shallot

3 tsp of olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 teaspoons cider vinegar

Salt & Pepper

Method

Be sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking - the grain has a natural outer coating that can taste bitter.Add quinoa to boiling salted water. Cook for about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine colander. Pour into salad bowl and set aside.While the quinoa is boiling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a gratin dish or other small roasting pan in the oven to heat.

Cut butternut squash into 1/2 cubes. Toss about 1 cup of the squash with a teaspoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of fresh thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and two turns of ground pepper. Remove the roasting pan from the oven (careful it should be hot) and spray the pan with a bit of non-stick cooking spray. Add the butternut squash to the pan and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan for 5 minutes and set aside. Dice 1/2 of an apple into 1/4 inch dice. Once the squash has been in the oven for 10 minutes, take it out and stir it around so it cook evenly. Add the apple to the pan and return to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes.

Dice the shallot and place in a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard and 1 teaspoon of the cider vinegar. Whisk together and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk 2 teaspoons of olive oil into the shallot, vinegar and mustard to make a vinaigrette. Set aside.Remove the squash and apple from the oven and let cool.

In a medium sized bowl, toss the quinoa with the squash, apple, cranberries, walnuts and vinaigrette. Enjoy!

 

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