- 3 cups cooked quinoa or 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 Tbsp J.Olive Co. EVOO
- 3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (I used the pre-cut ones to save time)
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 to 3 packed cups of kale, stems removed, chopped
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from about 1-2 oranges)
- 1 Tbsp J. Olive Co. EVOO
- freshly cracked pepper
- sea salt
- If you don’t have cooked quinoa, start with that.
- Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least 2 minutes. Drain. Rinsing quinoa before cooking will remove its natural bitter or soapy taste. Transfer to a saucepan, cover with stock, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes on the lowest setting. Turn off the heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside. (This will make a little bit more cooked quinoa than what you will need for the salad).
- Prepare the candied pecans. Prepare a sheet of baking paper on your kitchen counter. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium- high heat. Place the pecans in a single layer and toast until fragrant.
- Always keep an eye on the pecans because they can burn very quickly. When the pecans are toasted, add the maple syrup and a pinch of salt, and stir to coat the pecans. Cook for an additional 30 to 45 seconds, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Spread the pecans on the prepared baking sheet and let cool.
- Heat EVOO in a non-stick skillet. Add butternut squash and paprika.
- Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Stir to cover the squash with the spice.
- Cook on medium heat until brown on the outside and soft on the inside, about 10 minutes. When they are almost ready, stir in maple syrup and finish cooking. From now on, stir gently to make sure the squash doesn’t end up mashed.
- Add kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of cooked quinoa, stir and cook until warm.
- Turn off the heat and add dried cranberries, red onion and candied pecans.
- In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice and EVOO. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Drizzle over warm salad, toss and serve immediately.