Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

I usually crave butternut squash in the winter/fall but something about the sweetness of the squash combined with the bite of arugula sounded so delicious in a summer salad.

This dish is super filling and is a complete meal on its own with loads of protein, fiber and healthy fats. Although the flavors are simple the mix of the arugula, squash, roasted chicken, and avocado dressing create the perfect salty sweet combination.

Prep Time: 15 min / Cook Time: 45 min / Servings: 6 – 8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 3 pounds chicken, bone in and skin on. (You can use boneless and skinless but you will need to adjust the cooking time.)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 cups arugula
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 large avocado
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • While the oven preheats, combine 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp garlic powder in a small bowl.
  • Rinse the chicken breasts with water and pat dry.
  • Place the chicken on a baking pan. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and rub with the seasoning mixture.
  • On a separate baking pan, add the butternut squash in a single layer and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper (about 2 pinches of each).
  • Place the chicken and squash in the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes. The squash should be slightly browned and the chicken should reach 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Watch it closely, in case the squash is ready before the chicken.
  • While the squash and chicken cook, cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Use chicken broth, instead of water, for the cup of quinoa.
  • When the quinoa is done cooking, fluff with a fork and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • For the dressing, add the avocado and juice from one lemon to a blender. Blend until combined. Slowly add in the olive oil until it reaches your desired thickness. I used about 1/4 cup. Season with salt & pepper.
  • When the chicken is done cooking, take off the skin and shred with a fork. I recommend shredding the chicken in the baking pan it cooked in so that the juices are reabsorbed into the meat. The juice is where the flavor is!
  • In a large bowl, combine the arugula and the quinoa. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice from the remaining lemon. Mix.
  • To make the salad, place the quinoa and arugula mixture on a large platter. Top with the butternut squash and then the chicken. Drizzle with the avocado dressing and top with the pumpkin seeds.
  • Grab a bowl, scoop yourself a big serving and enjoy!

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