Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

Do you go through phases where you wan to eat soup every day? Then salads non stop? I go through food phases, some lasting longer than others. I ate cocoa puffs for breakfast every single day from September of 2005 to end of 2009. Yeah. I was a freak about my skim milk, whole wheat cocoa puffs bowl, every. single. morning. My husband thought I was nuts. Specially because then I had apple cinnamon oatmeal for a year straight, every. single. morning.
I currently don’t eat one single thing for breakfast every day, and I’m a mess, haha. It is such a comforting thing to me. No one says you can’t have other breakfast items for lunch or dinner. I wasn’t missing out on anything, but same breakfast gave me stability and control, a good start to the day. My days are very, very hectic right now. I need a breakfast. I tried many things, but nothing is sticking yet.

I am on a salad ‘thing’ right now though. I’ve been eating a salad almost every single day for almost two months now, and over half of them is this salad right here that I discovered at Trader Joe’s in September. It is a copycat salad, or as close as I could get it. Except mine has much more greens, because I love the greens, I could eat a full bowl of green lettuce with a simple vinaigrette with every meal. Hey, growing up in Croatia I DID have a bowl of lettuce with every single meal. With. Not before. We eat it together. In a restaurant I always have to tell them to bring my salad out with the meal. Mostly they bring it before. Then I have to reassure them that everything is fine (because I’m not eating it) and I’m just waiting for the rest of my meal. Oh the complications.

But back to my salad,  how about that Trader Joe’s!? I was so happy when they came to SLC last year. I am really hopeful they will open more stores across the Valley, it’s seriously out of the way and I only end up going there once or twice a month. And how lucky I felt when I started eating their Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Quinoa Salad! I felt like I hit the jackpot!
Here is my version.


Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

3 cups of baby spinach and arugula mix
1 cup of roasted butternut squash (recipe underneath)
1/2 cup of red quinoa, cooked
1/2 of wheat berries, cooked
1/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese
3 Tbsp of dried cranberries
3 Tbsp of golden raisins
1/4 cup of almonds, chopped or slivers
1 Tbsp of roasted red pepper, diced in little chunks
2 Tbsp of red onions, diced

I like to cook my quinoa and wheat berries on Sunday or Monday, so I have it for my various salads the whole week. I store them in mason jars in my fridge, and this works great for me. Cook them according to your package directions. I like to cook mine in vegetable broth. Quinoa in 2:1 ratio water to grain for 10 to 15 minutes. Wheat berries take a little bit longer, depending on the kind you get. Just follow the instruction on your package and  I cook those in broth as well.

Roasted Butternut Squash:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Cut a very thin piece of the bottom to make it more stable, and then cut it in half lengthwise. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
With a large spoon scoop the membranes and seeds from the center. Cut it into  1/2″ cubes.
Now, season the squash with a tablespoon of olive oil, one or two cloves of minced garlic, some fresh thyme and rosemary (1 sprig each) and salt and pepper. Toss it all together so everything is coated and then put on a cookie sheet lined with greased baking paper. Roast for about 25 minutes.


1 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp of water
about 1/2″ of ginger, grated

Put all of the ingredients into a mason jar and mix well. Pour a few tablespoons over our salad. Refrigerate the rest.

Assemble the salad:

Fill the bowl with the spinach and arugula. In a smaller bowl mix your quinoa, wheat berries, red pepper, onions, cranberries and raisins. Put over the greens, add butternut squash and toss a few times. Crumble the goat cheese over the whole salad and top with almonds. I like to roast mine before for just a few minutes. Add the dressing and enjoy!



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