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This healthy quinoa salad is mixed with maple roasted acorn squash, cranberries and oranges for a fall meal that is gluten free and vegan friendly.
You guys. It’s a party up in here today.
*GASP* and…ON A MONDAY. Is it too much excitement for you that you don’t even know how to function right now?
Don’t worry. That’s why coffee was invented. It knew this day would come. Or something maybesortof close to that. But coffee probably hasn’t been preparing itself for this very day in history.
BUT, it should be…because it’s FRIENDSGIVING YO.
When I first heard of this super trendy and awesome holiday that friends AMONG THE WHOLE WORLD were celebrating, well, I kind of took my little fingers up to my noggin’ and gave it a big ol’ SCRATCH. I mean, why would you celebrate Thanksgiving with FRIENDS, which would require you to MAKE THE ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS, when you could just go to your great aunts house, FEAST and then leave.
Not that I was a terrible guest like that or anything. But…I might have been.
IN OTHER NEWS. Then a few big-dealz things happened in my life:
- I tied the ol’ ball and chain. ORRR I got married. Don’t tell the Huberoni I call it that. We keep these things between us because we’re internet BFFS (FRIENDSGIVING YOU SEE) and all that jazz yes? Yes.
- Aforementioned “he put a ring on it” made me move to a whole NEW country. Which means I can’t just drive 5 mins to be that guest-that-is-actually-not-wanted-and-people-probably-rejoice-that-I’m-not-there-now ya know?
- I met Lindsay from the blog “Cotter Crunch.”
Side note: by “met” I mean we started talking online, which then progressed into constant texting and stuff that BFFs-who-have-actually-never-met-in-the-REAL-world-but-who-cares-because-internet-is-our-jam do.
And now, my peepsies, I understand the whole “Friendsgiving” thing. ANDANDAND I kinda really like it. Like, a lot a lot a lot.
Lindsay and I are teaming up with the awesome people over at Better Body Foods to bring you a mini recipe series of gluten free ideas for everything but the turkey. Today we’re both bringing you side dish ideas! I mean, check out Lindsay’s Gluten Free Stuffing Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing. I am eleventy billion percent sure that I could skip the turkey and go mouth-first into that sort of gluten free YUM.
If you’ve ever eaten Thanksgiving dinner with me, which you haven’t but whatever, you would know that’s a BOLD statement. I mean me and turkey are LIKE THIS. You’re supposed to picture me crossing my fingers here okay? Imaginations peeps. USE IT.
Let’s just take a jump off the Friendsgiving train for one small jiffy though. Because I need to introduce you to Better Body Foods. Spoiler alert!!! They make delicious foods that are, YOU GUESSED IT, better for your body! I wish I had the celebration emoji to put here. It just FITS so well.
Let’s not dwell on sadness though, because there’s feel-good salad ready to fill the void in your life. The one where you’re supposed to bring something to Thanksgiving dinner, but you DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BRING.
Let’s talk cranberry and orange. You remember the homemade cranberry sauce yes? This is where my taste buds LASER-LOCKED right on the combo that is cranberry and orange and obsessively needed to cran-orange-ify ALL THE THINGS.
Like S-A-L-A-D. With the freshest, most simple and slightly nutty-delicious maple tahini dressing that you’ve ever made in yer WHOLE LIFE. And the level of color, vibrant freshness and health? ON POINT GUYS. Likelikelikelike, I can see all the nutrients radiating through my skin and glaring off my computer screen RIGHT NOW.
We’re talking bursts of sweet, juicy, fresh oranges, tender roasted acorn squash, chewy tri-colored quinoa and tangy pops of roasted cranberry. Multi-texture. Multi-color. SO MUCH SALAD WIN.
You might even be that weird person who goes for salad seconds at Thanksgiving. Real talk: You might even be that person who eats GREEN THINGS for the whole. Entire. Meal. <3
Team Thanksgiving Salad.
I can see shirts in our future.
Vegan Roasted Acorn Squash and Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Orange Maple Tahini Dressing
- 1/2 Cup + 1 Tbsp Orange juice divided
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Uncooked Better Body Foods Tri-Colored quinoa
- 1 inch Small acorn squash seeds removed and sliced into 1/2 thick strips(about 1 3/4 lbs)
- 2 tsps Olive oil divided
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup divided
- 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon divided
- 1 tsp Salt + additional for sprinkling
- 1 Cup Fresh Cranberries or thawed frozen ones
- 8 Cups Spinach packed
- 1/2 Cup Cilantro roughly chopped
- 3 Mandarin oranges zest included
- 3 Tbsp Tahini + additional for drizzling optional
- 3/4 tsp Fresh ginger grated
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a cookie sheet and a small baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large pot, combine 1/2 cup of the orange juice, reserving the additional tsp for later use, and the water. Bring to a boil and stir in the uncooked quinoa. Cover the pot and reduce to low. Cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy, about 20-23 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and let slightly cool.
- While the quinoa cooks, cut each strip of acorn squash in half again and place into a very large bowl. Drizzle 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 Tbsp Maple syrup and 1 tsp of Cinnamon on the squash. Make sure to reserve the rest of these ingredients for later use. Stir the squash around to evenly coat it in the mixture. Spread the squash in a single layer on the prepared cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the cranberries into the same bowl as the squash was in (don't wash it!) and drizzle with the remaining 1/2 tsp of olive oil, 1/2 Tbsp Maple syrup (reserving the rest for later) and the remaining 1 Tbsp of orange juice. Toss to coat and then pour the mixture in a single layer, into the prepared baking dish.
- Place the squash and cranberries into the oven and cook until the cranberries release their juices and wrinkle, and the squash is fork tender, about 15-17 minutes. Note that the squash may take a few more minutes than the berries. Once cooked, set aside to lightly cool.
- In a VERY large bowl, toss the spinach and cilantro together.
- Zest all three mandarin oranges, and then place the zest into the cooled quinoa. Peel the oranges and then segment them into the bowl with the spinach.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Tahini, ginger and remaining 1 Tbsp of maple syrup. The mixture will be very thick. Pour it over the spinach mixture and toss to evenly coat. I find it's MUCH easier to get in and use your hands, as you can separate any leaves that get more tahini on them, and stick together. *
- Add the remaining 1 tsp of salt, a pinch of pepper and the remaining 1/2 tsp Cinnamon into the bowl with the orange zest and quinoa. Stir to mix evenly.
- Dump the quinoa, roasted squash and roasted cranberries into the spinach mixture and toss to until evenly mixed and the spinach begins to wilt.
- Drizzle with tahini if you desire and DEVOUR!
Recipe Notes* Don't toss the tahini on after you mix all the ingredients together, then this salad is goopy. Follow the steps peeps!
BUT WAIT! There’s more! Enter for a chance to win a super awesome prize pack from Better Body Foods! Entry is super easy, just use the widget below! Good luck!
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, PLEASE REMEMBER TO TAG @FOODFAITHFIT AND #FOODFAITHFITNESS ON INSTAGRAM! I LOVE SEEING YOUR RECIPE RECREATIONS!
Weight Watchers Points Per Serving: Points+: 5. Old Points:3
(based off of 8 servings)
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