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Quinoa & Butternut Squash with Apple Cider.

This vegetarian recipe for Quinoa & Butternut Squash with Apple Cider is perfect for lunch or dinner this fall. Quinoa is cooked in apple cider and combined with spinach, dried cherries, and roasted butternut squash.

It’s official…

{Image via we heart it}

Up until this past weekend, I avoided apple recipes + pumpkin anything + wearing knee-high boots, in an effort to forget the inevitable – that summer is over and cold weather is on its way. I know I sound like a broken record when I write that the summer flew by. Doesn’t everyone say that each September? Thankfully fall is my favorite season and I think I’m ready to embrace it right on time this year.

At a local apple festival this weekend, K and I picked up honeycrisp apples, apple cider, and a few hefty butternut squash. I roasted one of the smaller squash last night and combined it with quinoa cooked in a brand new way – with apple cider! The result is a warm quinoa salad packed with fall flavors. The addition of dried cherries, spinach and a simple apple cider vinaigrette made this a quick vegan dinner.

Quinoa & Butternut Squash with Apple Cider
Yields: 4 servings

1 cup red quinoa
1 and 3/4 cups apple cider + 1/4 cup water
2+ large handfuls spinach
1 small/medium butternut squash
1/3 cup dried cherries
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil + 2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of red pepper flakes {or two}

Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

*Peel, cut and cube the butternut squash. Mix the cubes with grapeseed oil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Stir until everything is distributed.
*Bake the squash at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes for even roasting.
*Cook quinoa according to package directions, except sub 75% of the water for apple cider. When most of the liquid has been absorbed {15-20 minutes}, add the spinach and cover.
*Whisk the vinaigrette.
*When the spinach has wilted, add dried cherries, vinaigrette, and roasted squash.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

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