Sunday, February 12, 2012

Superfoods Forever: Delicata squash with quinoa and arugula from Laura Malcolm

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Today's Superfood: Quinoa
Protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, folate

Erika says: Another great Superfood guest post, this time from fellow Los Angeleno Laura Malcolm. Laura and I worked together a few years back, but we really only got to know each other right before we both left the company - unfortunate, because we discovered we had a lot in common. She moved out of town for a while but is back in L.A. and on my shortlist of people I can't wait to have over for dinner.

I go through food obsessions not unlike music obsessions - pick three or four things, repeat on shuffle for a month, have my fill, revisit next year. This fall, arugula and delicata squash managed to find a new home in my kitchen and before long, a place in every dish a brought to a holiday party. It's surprising it took me so long to get to this delicata squash phase, considering how much I love winter squash but detest preparing it (any time I have to peel or dice it, at least). Delicata is, for me, the richness of a butternut squash with the delicacy of a yellow summer squash that, when roasted, gets a slightly crunchy skin (and better texture) than any grilled summer squash.

Quinoa is one of the most well known superfoods because of its amazing qualities, such as being a complete protein and containing a set of amino acids - something that's very uncommon in non-animal products. Quinoa is incredibly versatile, can be eaten any time of day and is a great substitute for rice or couscous. This recipe is a play on a common fall stuffed squash, but I've managed to take my current fall-food obsessions and carry them right through until now. Roasted delicata squash, arugula, quinoa and cranberries make a filling, fresh and colorful superfood dinner.

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Delicata squash with quinoa and arugula
Roasted delicata squash has the sweetness of butternut without any of the pain-in-the-neck peeling.
  • 4 delicata squash
  • olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp cranberry juice
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, uncooked
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 5-ounce package arugula
  • salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut delicata squash in half, and remove the seeds and threads with a spoon. Rub with olive oil and salt, and place cut side down in a baking dish. Bake at 400 until easily pierced, about 25 minutes.In a small saucepan, heat about 1 tsp olive oil. Saute shallot for 2 minutes, then add cranberry juice and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn to low, and leave to reduce while you're cooking. Bring quinoa and water together on the stove to a boil, cover and turn to low. After 15 minutes, you should be able to stir with a fork and see the water has absorbed - if it hasn't, cover and give another minute. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa.Heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil in a saute pan. Add garlic and onion and cook until soft. Add dried cranberries to onion and garlic and let cook for a minute before finally adding quinoa to mixture and tossing to mix. Remove cranberry-balsamic reduction from the stove and whisk in olive oil until it's a taste you like. At this point, I either use a little to dress the arugula as well, or toss the arugula with a very simple olive oil, lemon and salt mixture.Turn roasted delicata squash cut side up and set two on each plate. At this point, you can either layer the arugula and quinoa mixtures in the squash, or I've taken to piling one squash with the quinoa mixture and one with arugula. Drizzle the balsalmic dressing over the top, and enjoy your superfood loaded plate. (The pictured salad also got a blood orange garnish, because, well, it matched the cranberries in the quinoa. Color coordination optional)
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

1 comment:

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I have never really tried delicata, but I love butternut (even with the pesky peeling). I will definitely have to give this one a whirl...

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