Triple Squash Quinoa

Are you swimming in squash the way we are?  I love all kinds of squash….yellow crooknecks, zucchini, acorn, spaghetti, patty pan.  They are all delicious.  The winter squashes like butternut, acorn, kabocha are not around very much right now, but yellow, zucchini and patty pan are abundant. They seem to be easy to grow in a home garden (I have never tried yet, but my cousin Doug grows them), and they are everywhere at the produce stands and grocery stores.  I once heard a great joke…..the only time you need to lock your doors when you live in the country is zucchini season so people can't leave them in your house! Ha!  We have had lots of squash to eat and I am not complaining.  I love it just cooked in some olive oil with a sliced onion.  Since even that gets old after a few times, I decided to try this quinoa dish.  

I checked this book out of the Clover library.  Awesome right?  This is a new book and I think I was the first person to open it.  It has really interesting, healthy, and easy recipes.  I adapted one of her recipes to make this.  I can't remember now what was supposed to be in it and of course I already returned it to the library.  The vegetables were completely different.  I did make the dressing as written.  It is so good. Saute squash (I used pattypan, zucchini, and yellow but any and all work fine) toss with quinoa, toasted pumpkin seeds, kale, avocado,  and a garlic-y mustard-y dressing. I topped it with a few blobs of goat cheese as well.  We ate it warm the first time, but is was equally good served cold leftover for lunch.  A perfect way to use up a bunch of squash.  It tastes decadent from the avocado and the sharp dressing. This is gluten-free and can easily be made vegan.  The cheese is optional.  There is a little buttermilk in the dressing which can be skipped. I say go for it if you have some.  It makes the dressing a little creamy and look like it came from a really fancy restaurant.  Perfection! 

Let's see, what else?  I have been walking a little different route in the mornings. I have tired of the usual path after 2 1/2 months (Can you believe I have been here that long?) and started walking where my dad used to walk.  It is beautiful as well. One of the houses has 4 goats!  And another has chickens so I get to hear a rooster crow as I walk.  Sorry the pictures are kind of blurry.  Not sure why my phone did that!  On another note, we're going to have figs! 

Mom has two trees. One froze this winter and is mostly dead with few budding fruit, but the other one is huge and just covered!  I am going to have to find something to do with them all!  Last year we made a cardamom fig breakfast cake that was good so I may try that.  I'll still need to find about 100 other things to make! :)  

I also walk around the yard some in the early evening.  There are tons of little cotton-tailed rabbits to watch and I try to wait for the lightening bugs.  Unfortunately they come out right after the mosquitos, so I miss them most of the time! We do have beautiful moss on the ground and trees. The green colors are so pretty.  Houston was too hot for moss so it is a novelty for me! 

I'll be back in a few days.  I'm trying to get better about writing again.  Having no routine is so much harder than having a full schedule!  Sounds ridiculous but the more you have to do the more you get done.  I am trying to just enjoy the time off as hopefully soon I will be a home owner and finding some work.  The moving and getting settled will be time consuming.  Next week I'll work on home owners insurance and movers.  

Wish me luck…I am doing an "audition" for a job.  The position is part time as needed to teach the Kaplan review classes for nurses preparing for their licensing exam.  Sounds really fun to me. I have to teach two questions and give a 5 minute talk in a virtual classroom. I have never taught like this before but I am not afraid of public speaking so I think it may be a good fit.   Fingers crossed!  Have a good week...

Triple Squash Quinoa

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: side salad quinoa yellow squash zuchini

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 patty pan squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3 small yellow squash
  • salt
for the dressing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or non-dairy substitute
to serve
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed and cut into very thin slivers
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese or feta cheese (optional)
  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

Instructions

Add the quinoa to 3/4 cup water and a pinch of salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut all squash into uniform pieces, about 3/4 inches. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add all of the squash and sprinkle with salt. Cook over medium high heat until the squash is tender and just beginning to brown about 12 -15 minutes depending on the size of your squash pieces.

For the dressing

Mix all the dressing ingredients to combine well. (Make sure the garlic is either pressed or minced really fine.) Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the cooked quinoa, the squash, the avocado, the kale, 1/2 of the pumpkin seeds, and 1/2 of the dressing. Toss well to coat everything with dressing. Add a little more dressing as needed. Crumble cheese over the top, sprinkle with remaining pumpkin seeds, and drizzle with a little more dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: this is excellent leftover. If you think you aren't going to eat it all, add the avocado to each individual serving. It will get brown and mushy in the leftover salad. Add more the next day when you eat round two.

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