On a day that is dedicated to candy corn and peanut butter cups, I’m going to start things off by talking about a veggie packed dinner that will help to counteract the effects of one too many caramel apples.
Quinoa Bowls, as we refer to them in my house, are great any time of the year, but I find them particularly satisfying during cooler months. It’s really just a composed salad with a scoop of quinoa, but it’s so much more warming than a garden salad on a cool autumn evening. You can use any assortment of vegetables you have floating around your fridge, but my favorites are beets, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, red peppers and onions. Fresh spinach and sliced avocado round out the bowl. The one pictured above has a late season zucchini added as well. It’s a great way to clean out the crisper or make use of whatever is fresh at the farmer’s market.
The key to great roasted vegetables is a hot oven. It is also important to separate the vegetables by cooking time. For this recipe, I cook the beets, the sweet potatoes and butternut squash in the same pan since they have similar cooking time. I then use a second pan for the peppers and onions. This way, I can give the harder vegetables with longer cooking times a head start in the oven.
The vinaigrette is what what makes this dish feel complete. If you want to make your own, this is a simple and delicious recipe. Or you can use this store bought version. It’s ideal to use a vinaigrette that does not have added sugar – as most store bought salad dressings do. You want a tart vinaigrette that will bring out the sweetness in the butternut squash, beets and sweet potatoes.
4 medium beets
2 sweet potatoes
1 butternut squash, sliced in half and seeded
1 red pepper
1 yellow onion
1 bunch of spinach
1 c. quinoa, rinsed
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Peel and chop beets and butternut squash.
3. Chop sweet potatoes leaving the skin on.
4. Place these chopped vegetables on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Prepare the red pepper and onion the same way using a second baking sheet.
6. Put the pan with the beets, butternut squash and sweet potatoes in the oven.
7. After about 20 minutes, stir the beets, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Add the second pan of vegetables to the oven.
8. Roast the vegetables, stirring once or twice for an additional 25 – 30 minutes.
9. Once all the vegetables are in the oven, prepare the quinoa. Place the quinoa and 1 3/4 c. water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
10. When the vegetables are finished roasting, prepare your salad bowls. Place a scoop of the quinoa in each bowl as well as a scoop of each roasted vegetable. Add a handful of spinach. Top with sliced avocado and vinaigrette.