Tastes better after a break

[donotprint] I can’t remember when exactly I discovered quinoa, it slipped in as a cupboard staple what seems like forever ago. Needless to say, when it first entered my world I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (quite literally!) as I was so enraptured by it.

Of course too much of a good thing in some cases is actually possible – kabocha, pancakes and nut butter are of course the exceptions. It feels like a hell of a long time ago that I actually whipped up a quinoa based meal; I’ve been favouring short grain brown rice and millet of late, both of which were considered before I decided to go with the queen of all grains.

I had a bit of mishap with the first batch, and by first batch I mean the batch I made for this dish as opposed to the first ever…. I have a habit of keeping my herbal tea bags in a jug after the first use; I’m not in to strong tea and so I usually get at least three mugs out of them! I stupidly took the tea bag and out and used the same jug to measure out the water for my quinoa which resulted in a tea tainted grain that for some other untold reason sunk to the bottom of the water and didn’t quite cook properly.

I picked up a new bag of Organic Quinoa in The Happy Pear on my travels which fluffed up wonderfully Smile Tea stained water aside this time!

I’ve had hankering for a fruity nutty grain dish thanks to some very appealing recipes being posted over the last few weeks most notably Anne’s. I also had Emily’s maple millet recipe in the back of mind and so decided to take inspiration from both and create the dish to satisfy all my cravings in one go. A warm, veggie filled protein rich grain salad with a nice bit of crunch and fruity chew….it doesn’t get much better.

I’m glad I gave quinoa a little bit of rest because it tasted even better than I’d anticipated….I might have to give it another whirl in another recipe while I have it out of the cupboard.

It also doesn’t get much prettier! This would make for a perfect Christmas side dish – or a big bowlful of it just as is would certainly cure my Christmas appetite! I’m considering cooking it up alongside my Puy Lentil Nut loaf….the perfect Christmas dinner if you ask me.

People think salad and the vast majority think cold, not all that satisfying and consider it more a side or “diet” type dish. I think salad and I think warm, roasted veggies, soft fluffy grains and all kinds of wonderful mix ins and this is just one example. Extremely tasty, filling and a feast for the eyes as much as the tastebuds.

What’s your favourite winter warming salad? [/donotprint]

Butternut Maple Quinoa Salad


Servings – 1

Preparation Time – 5 minutes

Cooking Time – 35 minutes



  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 11/4 cup water
  • 1 cup diced butternut squash + 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley roughly chopped


  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Coat butternut squash in coconut oil and roast in the oven on a non stick baking tray for 30 –35 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cover quinoa with water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 –20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Set to one side.
  4. Whisk together dressing ingredients.
  5. Mix together cooked quinoa, roasted squash, parsley, pecans and cranberries, stir in dressing and dig in!

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  1. I am a big quinoa lover. I made it for breakfast for the first time this morning (I’ll be blogging the recipe this week). I find it really versitle and I found out it is great for preventing migraines, which I suffer from.

  2. Yum! This sounds fabulous. Comforting, but not heavy. The dressing also sounds divine! Can’t wait to give it a try.

    Lovely photos!

  3. i know what you mean, i ate so much quinoa for a certain time that i had to take a break. until last weekend when i made angela’s red quinoa black bean sweet potato soup – mmm, so good, i really appreciated that quinoa! i will keep this recipe and the puy lentil loaf in mind for my xmas meal. i had a similar grain cooking fail once, mine was at work. i was making a wheat berry salad, and thought i’d use up the apple juice in the fridge to cook them in and give them an apple infused taste (since there were apples in the salad), but i guess only water works for cooking wheat berries… they never cooked through, and i ended up burning them! luckily my boss wasn’t too angry, and i actually just got the good news that their regular cook put her notice in – and i get the job! i had been filling in for her after she broke her foot, and wondered when she’d retire, daydreaming about filling her shoes… needless to say, i’m ecstatic and credit your recipes to sparking my interest in vegan cooking even more!