I’m having a hard time gathering my thoughts today.

What to write? Describe life the last couple months or talk about this big, bold salad that I’m completely thrilled about? A little of both?

Kale, Squash, Quinoa Salad with Maple Citrus Dressing | Things I Made Today

After a year of what has given us some pretty major changes (new house, new jobs, and now future babies), it feels like Jason and I have finally settled into a comfortable and normal routine. It’s amazing to think back now on a time when both of us used to travel for a living, getting to spend only hectic weekends together running errands and catching up on sleep. Then I left my job (it’s been two years, wow), and even though Jason was still on the road quite a bit, our relationship felt a little less crazy.

Jason’s been at his new job for about three months now, and having us both home seven days a week took a little adjusting to. The first week he arrived at home at 5:30, he’d look at me earnestly as if I was supposed to entertain him or give him something to do. But we’ve hit our groove now, and it seems like one of the things I look forward to most is decompressing while we cook dinner together.

Kale, Squash, Quinoa Salad with Maple Citrus Dressing | Things I Made Today

Last night was one of those nights where we took our time, making this big, bold salad with a side of steak. The steak was good, but I’ll focus on the salad, as it was the highlight of the meal.

Kale, Squash, Quinoa Salad with Maple Citrus Dressing | Things I Made Today

I love salads that can stand up as full side dishes. This one may even meet the criteria of entree if you load up your plate. And there is so much flavor. The squash gets roasted in spices while the kale sits and soaks in the amazing maple citrus dressing. The quinoa gives the salad a little more heft. The feta provides a nice creamy accent and the dried cranberries give just a little bit of sweetness.

Kale, Squash, Quinoa Salad with Maple Citrus Dressing | Things I Made Today

It’s a salad that works in the summer and will work just as well in the fall and winter, just switch out the patty pan squash for something like acorn squash. Take your time with this one, you’ll love it.

Kale, Squash, Quinoa Salad with Maple Citrus Dressing
Recipe type: Salad, Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
For the squash:
  • 2 medium sized patty pan squash, cut into small wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
For the dressing:
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt to taste
For the salad:
  • ½ cup red quinoa, dry
  • 1 large bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Roast squash:
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large bowl, combine squash, olive oil, paprika, chili powder, and salt. Mix well so squash is covered. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way, until squash is tender and slightly browned.
  3. Let cool to room temperature.
Make the dressing:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for dressing. Set aside.
Make the rest:
  1. Combine dressing with kale in a large bowl. Let sit while remaining ingredients come together.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine dressed kale, quinoa, roasted squash, feta cheese, and dried cranberries and mix well.

Recipe adapted from The Year In Food.


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