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, gluten– free, and can easily be made vegan with a quick substitution in the peanut sauce.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 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
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil
- Prep and dice the butternut squash into one inch cubes
- 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
- 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
- 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!)
- 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:
- Cut, prep, and bake the tofu (fab little how-to is here for perfect crispy tofu)
- Cook the quinoa and set aside to keep warm
- Sauté the portobello mushroom in light olive oil and salt/pepper to taste
- 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
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.