21 October 2014

Dishes with Dee: Autumn Quinoa

I got new boots!
I've been wearing scarves!
I guess it must be Fall, you guys.

Let's talk about all the reasons why Fall is the best, aside from the boots and the drink that elicits a cult-like following. There is football, pumpkin beer, pumpkin carving, pumpkin anything, Halloween, my birthday (the best part), drinks spiked with rum and that amazing smell Fall has. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to come experience Fall in the Midwest. Stat.

Also, there are roasted things. You guys- roasted things are e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. in Fall.
Roasting vegetables brings out their rich sweetness in a way that says comfort food without the love handles, ya feel me?

So, as I often do, I was day dreaming about food on my way home from work one night. It was the kind of day dreaming that has you turning the opposite way off your exit, heading into Whole Foods, and accidentally spending this week's wine allowance. (YeahRightLikeIPutAnAllowanceOnWine.) I wandered through produce with two things going through my mind:
1. Butternut Squash
2. Brussels Sprouts! 
So of course, I ended up with both in my basket. I started thinking about what flavors reminded me the most of my favorite season, and I ended up with an awesome collection of ingredients.
And then, Autumn Quinoa was born,

So here's what ya need:
2 c. cooked quinoa 
1 small butternut squash
1 bag of brussels sprouts
1 medium-large honey crisp apple
1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes
1/8 c. toasted pecans
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh sage
1 tsp fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
A small dish of olive oil and a brush.

And here's what ya do:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray with a light cooking oil. Wash and trim your brussels sprouts. To do this, simply rinse under cool water in a colander, pull off any outer leaves that are discoloring and trim down the stems. Take extra care to dry them, as they will roast better if they're completely dry. Then cut them in half length-wise. Peel and cube your butternut squash into about 3/4-inch chunks.
Click here to have Martha show you the easiest way to prepare a butternut squash.

2. Put butternut squash on the other baking sheet, brush with regular olive oil, and sprinkle with a little bit of salt, and cinnamon. Roast for about 30-35 minutes, agitating every 5-7 minutes. Place the brussels sprouts cut-side-down on one of the baking sheets and lightly brush with olive oil. I used some roasted garlic oil for these, but if that seems like it might be too rich, just go for regular. Sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 18-20 minutes or until you start to see them browning.

3. While the vegetables roast, chop the sun-dried tomato into about 1/2 inch length pieces, core the apple, and cut it into 1/2 pieces as well. Coarsely chop all herbs.
**Note: All three herbs can usually be found packaged together in a "poultry pack" of some kind rather than buying them each individually** 

4. Once the vegetables finish roasting, immediately add quinoa, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, sun-dried tomatoes, and apple in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Then, stir in the herbs, pecans and parmesan. Plate and serve.

I served this with grilled chicken sausage.

***Note: Cook the quinoa in chicken stock for a more flavorful grain***

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