Recipe inspiration can come from unlikely places. Today, as I was walking the aisles of Costco, I noticed that they had a packaged product of quinoa and kale. I thought to myself, what a nice convenience that is. But then thought, hmmm...I have cooked quinoa in my freezer, and fresh kale in the fridge. I think I'll make this. And so this recipe was created.
The recipe came together quickly as I have been testing recipes with pumpkin, both in the can and fresh pumpkin squash. I had just roasted a small whole pumpkin, sitting on my counter cooling. It made sense to add it to the quinoa and kale. These are Fall ingredients that are in season together and go together on the dinner plate. Think of Thanksgiving with both squash and cranberry relish as side dishes with your turkey. All are good flavor profiles. And yes, this would be great for Thanksgiving. Or Tuesday.
Cooking whole pumpkin is the same process as roasting any other type of fall squash, such as butternut or acorn. Either of these squashes would work well as a substitute for the pumpkin. Quinoa freezes well, as does brown rice or farro. I usually have one or all of these in freezer bags, ready for their next use. This makes dinner come together easily for a quick weeknight side dish.
Quinoa with Roasted Pumpkin, Kale and Cranberries
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup diced cooked pumpkin squash
2 cups chopped raw kale
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Working in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in the thinly sliced onions with a pinch of salt. Stir, cooking for 3-4 minutes. Add in the chopped raw kale and minced garlic, stir to combine. Cover to wilt the kale, stirring occasionally, cooking for 5 minutes. Add in the cooked quinoa, cooked diced pumpkin squash, dried cranberries, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper. Stir to combine, cooking for roughly 5 minutes until quinoa and squash are heated. Add in remaining tablespoon of olive oil and tablespoon of butter, stir to combine. Taste for additional salt, adding as necessary. Dish can be served hot or at room temperature.
Directions on how to roast pumpkin squash.