Serendipity. Happenstance. Coincidence. These are not words I would use to describe the making of this salad. I have seen Tahini in stores many times before but always put it back on the shelf because I didn’t have a reason to buy it. The other day, I did. I wanted to make my Mama a delicious Vegan dinner. We have been eating out the last couple days while she visited and whenever I want to reset from a bunch of heavier meals, I whip up a tasty, clean Vegan meal. Since I had just picked up The Oh She Glows Cookbook, I thought I’d test out a scrumptious looking recipe that I happened to have most of the ingredients on hand for. Off to the store we went to get cranberries, pepitas, nutritional yeast and Tahini. Quick and easy, I thought. Boy was I wrong. The first 3 ingredients on my list I snapped up no problem. Two days, five grocery stores and one grumpy Kendra later I finally got a jar of Tahini. Honestly, how is this city sold out of that much Tahini?
Anyways, I was finally able to make my salad and it was tasty and filling. One piece of advice, read the whole recipe all the way through before you start. It will help you prioritize and get everything ready at once. And a lot quicker. I really need to remember this so I’m not left with hot, roasted squash, raw quinoa and a bunch of dirty, unchopped vegetables still sitting in the fridge. Like Mother, like Daughter. I guess I inherited that trait.
Acorn Squash, Quinoa & Kale Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Recipe adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook
- 1 Acorn Squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Fine-grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked Quinoa (I used Red Quinoa)
- 1/2 to 1 bunch kale, stems removed & leaves torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup diced red onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
- 2 Tbsp raw pepitas (sunflower seeds)
- 1 recipe Lemon-Tahini Dressing (see below)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the squash crosswise into 1-inch wide pieces (they should be half circles) and place them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle them with the olive oil and toss to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast the squash for about 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking time. The squash is ready when golden and fork tender.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions (Or 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water and coil until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy and tender).
- Place the kale in a large bowl and spoon 2-4 tablespoons of the Lemon-Tahini Dressing over the top. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands until all the leaves are coated. let the kale sit on the counter for at least 10-15 minutes so the dressing can soften the kale leaves.
- To assemble the salad, place the dressing-coated kale on a large serving plate. Spread the cooked quinoa over top, followed by the onion, celery, parsley, roasted squash, cranberries and pepita seeds. Drizzle with the rest of the dressing.
Makes 2/3 cup
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1/4 cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. juice of 1 lemon)
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1-2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1-2 Tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- In a food processor, pulse the garlic to mince it (or mince it by hand). To the food processor (or a blender), add the tahini, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, oil, water, salt and process until smooth. The dressing will thicken a bit once chilled, thin it out with a tablespoon or two of water or oil.