Warm Thai Peanut Salad

YA’LL! You know how eating healthy in the winter seems especially tough and eating fresh produce tastes like a chore rather than refreshing? Blame it on the cold (maybe you can’t relate if you live in the south, but if you’re a northerner I’m sure you can relate) or the out-of-season produce, but eating salad in the winter just isn’t fun… you want to cozy up with comfort food! I feel ya. I really do. But I found the solution, and the solution is this warm salad.

It was a Saturday afternoon when I went to our local grocery store with no plan. Normally I don’t recommend aimlessly wandering the grocery store…it’s reckless. Luckily I was craving a wholesome meal and just needed a little inspiration. I don’t know what it was, but after about ten minutes of wandering I was hit by an intense craving for a spicy Thai peanut sauce, and I suddenly knew what to do. Roasted broccoli, grilled tofu, leafy greens, and warm quinoa would tie the meal together, and I would be set for a hardy and healthy Saturday dinner.

It may not be as easy as takeout, but it’s a worthwhile substitute and just as filling! Lastly (and then I’ll get into it), once you prep all the ingredients, you can easily make 2 or 3 salads for the week ahead. Now… this salad is a vegetarian, glutenfree, and can easily be made vegan with a quick substitution in the peanut sauce.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Salad Ingredients

  • One Butternut squash
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp of thyme
  • Crushed red pepper to taste (if you like a lil’ spice)
  • Two heads of broccoli
  • Extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • Your leafy green of choice (I recommend spinach, collard greens, kale, or some combination of the darker greens)
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • A sprinkle of salted peanuts for crunch (and decoration, let’s be real)

Thai peanut sauce Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp of coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp of honey (or agave for a vegan dressing)
  • 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1-3 tbsp of warm water to reach the desired saucy consistency

Veggie Prep:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil
  2. Prep and dice the butternut squash into one inch cubes
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, toss the butternut squash cubes in 2 tbsp of olive oil, the garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme until the squash is evenly and coated and lie on the baking sheet. Salt and pepper as desired
  2. In the same bowl, toss the broccoli in the remaining olive oil and crushed red pepper. Salt and pepper as desired. Lie the broccoli on the second baking sheet
  3. Roast the butternut squash in the oven for 35-40 minutes, and the broccoli for 15-20 minutes (desired crispy-ness is up to you!)
  4. Dice the portobello mushroom and set aside- cooking this will only take about 5 minutes

At this point I recommend mixing the peanut sauce as a time-saver

Mixing the other goods:

  1. Cut, prep, and bake the tofu (fab little how-to is here for perfect crispy tofu)
  2. Cook the quinoa and set aside to keep warm
  3. Sauté the portobello mushroom in light olive oil and salt/pepper to taste
  4. Once the veggies, quinoa, and tofu are finished, mix with leafy greens, toss with dressing (you’ll have plenty of leftover dressing), and top with peanuts
  5. Enjoy!

As you can see there’s a bit of prep work in this meal, but once you have the roasted veggies it’s easy peasy just like any other salad.

I love, love, LOVE this salad as a fun way to mix things up in a healthy, wholesome way. I hope you all love it as much as me, and please share your thoughts/comments when you give this salad a try.