Butternut Squash, Quinoa, Spinach, Walnut Fall Salad

kale-quinoa-016With fall beginning to show its splendor, we naturally begin to seek out warmth and comfort foods.  This vegetarian/vegan recipe is great for pregnant mamas due to its high protein and nutrient content.  This is a perfect meal or side dish for lunch or dinner (heck, or even breakfast!)

  • Walnuts are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial to fetal brain development, and contain protein.
  • Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, and folic acid.
  • Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins and manganese (essential for the production of white and red blood cell).
  • Butternut squash contains protein, Vitamins A, C, E and B6, and folate, as well as potassium.

Each serving of this dish has 14 grams of protein, 7 mg of iron, 239 mg of calcium, and 9 grams of fiber.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin Italian olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced thin
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 cups baby spinach or kale
  • 2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5 minutes).
  2. Add the broth, squash, quinoa and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the squash and quinoa are tender (15 to 20 minutes).
  3. Gently stir in the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt (2 to 3 minutes).
  4. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with walnuts.  Serve and enjoy!