Sautéed kale, quinoa and roasted butternut squash join forces with sweet balsamic-glazed pears and creamy fontina cheese to create the perfect dish for Fall.
I am in a major squash infatuation and have been roasting it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as a side or main dish, even as a snack with some maple peanut butter. Thank you, Jif Gods. If I had to describe what autumn tasted like, it would be the epitome of a roasted butternut squash.
But let’s switch gears and briefly discuss my experience with spaghetti squash this week. I wanted to use up the rest of my turkey meatballs in a spaghetti squash dish with some sautéed veggies and a
sprinkle brick of parmesan cheese. So, I go into my local grocery store on a hunt for a respectably-sized spaghetti squash and end up coming face-to-face with my worst nightmare.
Not only did my local grocery store only have ONE left, but this lonesome solider was LIT-erally the size of a damn pumpkin. No joke. It almost broke the produce scale coming in at 6.3 lbs. Not only did this thing need a forklift to transfer, but it rang up at 18$!! For a squash! Needless to say, I walked out of the grocery store with whole-wheat bowties.
Ok, back to the squash of the hour. If you’re so inclined, you could also do another version of squash, like kabocha or even acorn… or even sweet potatoes! One thing I will mention as far as roasting squash is to make sure the cubes of squash aren’t too crowded on your roasting pan. Otherwise, they will steam instead of roast and will be lacking that little crisp we all adore. If you’re using a whole butternut squash, you will likely need to roast in two separate batches.
I’m thinking this dish would be a refreshing addition to your Thanksgiving spread this year. It combines sweet and savory with a a nice tart punch from the balsamic. It’s packed with fiber, high in protein and very low in calories. All things we lovvvvvvve <3
Kale, Quinoa & Butternut Salad with Balsamic-Glazed Pears & Fontina
Serves 6. Serving size: 3/4 cup
- 1 small butternut squash, cut into ~1-inch cubes
- 4 generous handfuls of kale, chopped with stems removed
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken stock)
- 1 pear, chopped
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1.5 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
- .5 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 2 ounces of Fontina cheese, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Halve the squash lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds. Remove skin. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Toss with olive-oil, salt and pepper and spread out in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until just tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, combine quinoa, 1 cup of vegetable broth and 1 cup of water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, cover the pot, reduce heat to medium/low, and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed. This will take 12-15 minutes. You will notice that the quinoa becomes sort of translucent and you can “fluff” it with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add kale and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook down ~4-5 minutes until wilted. Remove from skillet and add to bowl of quinoa.
- Using the same skillet, add .5 tbsp butter and minced shallot. Cook ~4-5 minutes until slightly caramelized. Add chopped pear and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes until golden. Add chopped sage and balsamic and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
- In a serving dish, add kale and quinoa mixture followed by roasted butternut squash and top with pear and shallot mixture. Grate some fontina cheese on top (it should easily melt from the heat) and serve immediately.
Nutrition facts per serving (3/4 cup)
Calories: 220, Total Fat: 7 gm; Saturated Fat: 2 gm; Cholesterol: 9 mg; Sodium: 250 mg; Carbohydrates: 34 gm; Fiber: 5.5 gm; Sugar: 5 gm; Protein: 8.5 gm