When it comes to Thanksgiving, are you on Team Salad or Team No Salad?
Me? I’m a die hard member of Team Salad. I will never turn down the opportunity to eat a big, colorful salad. And Thanksgiving Day is no exception to that rule.
My Dad, however, plays for Team No Salad. His argument goes something like this: why would anybody want to waste stomach space on salad, which you could easily consume any other day of the year, when there are so many other side dishes and desserts at your fingertips.
OK. So I sort of get his point. Stomach real estate is definitely at a premium on Thanksgiving Day. But I’ve been practicing my stomach stretching skills, so I think I’m ready. Bring on the salad! And all the other goodies too!
If you are on Team Salad, then you might consider making this Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Avocado and Pomegranate for your Thanksgiving feast. It’s super festive looking and full of Fall favorites. It’s gluten free and vegan. AND you can assemble it several hours in advance. Can I get a hallelujah?!?! Anything that doesn’t have to be prepped at the absolute last minute is a life saver on Thanksgiving Day.
And if you’re on Team No Salad, don’t worry because I’ve got a stellar dessert recipe coming up on Friday. I’m covering all my bases.
Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Avocado and Pomegranate
- For the Salad
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Seeds from 1 scraped fresh vanilla bean pod
- 1 dozen large brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
- For the Dressing
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Make the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium-large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature to maintain a simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa with a fork and set it aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the butternut squash and cauliflower in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cinnamon and vanilla bean seeds. Pour this over the butternut squash and cauliflower, tossing to combine. Then spread the vegetables out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and have started to brown in a few places, tossing once during this time. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Make the dressing. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
- Finish the salad. Add the cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, cauliflower and shredded brussels sprouts to a large bowl. Drizzle in about half of the dressing, tossing to combine. Then add in more dressing based on your taste preferences. If you are preparing this salad in advance, cover and refrigerate it at this point. The salad can stored in your refrigerator for several hours. Then before serving, gently fold in the chopped avocado, pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds. Serve and enjoy.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 day.