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For the Salad
1 medium-sized butternut squash peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for squash
1 large bunch of kale chopped
⅓ cup dried cranberries
½ cup quinoa
1 red onion sliced
Pecorino Romano shaved
For the Walnuts
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
For the Dressing
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prep your butternut squash. They can be a bit tough to handle, so to make things easier— cut off the top and bottom and slice the squash in half lengthwise. Remove any seeds with a spoon.
Peel the Squash - Use a veggie peeler or sharp knife to slowly peel the skin from the squash.
Cut the Squash - Begin by slicing each half of the squash into long pieces. Then, cut the pieces into cubes for the salad.
Roast the Squash - Transfer the squash to a baking sheet or oven-safe dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with black pepper and sea salt. Roast the squash for 35-40 minutes until golden, making sure to toss the squash twice while it roasts. Set aside and allow it to cool. (Note: If you’d like your squash crispier, try cutting it into smaller pieces and arranging it in a single layer on a baking sheet. Keep in mind, if you do so, that your squash will cook faster.)
Make the Walnuts - While the squash bakes, make your sweet maple walnuts. Add the walnuts, coconut oil, maple syrup, fresh nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt to a skillet or pot (we used our beloved Le Creuset Dutch oven). Mix the ingredients together to coat. Cook them on low heat for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Let cool to allow candy-like coating to form.
Create the Quinoa - Bring your quinoa to boil with one cup of water and two cloves of minced garlic. Stir periodically. Alternatively, you can also use chicken or vegetable broth in place of water for a more flavorful quinoa. When quinoa is fluffy and the water has been absorbed, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.
Cut and Slice the Veggies - Chop your kale leaves and slice your red onions. Toss them into a medium-sized bowl to mix the salad together.
Add the remaining ingredients to the salad mix — squash, dried cranberries, walnuts, and quinoa.
To make your dressing, add the balsamic, olive oil, salt, garlic, and black pepper. Toss to coat.
Plate the salad and top with shaved Pecorino Romano. Enjoy!