Saturday, January 5, 2013

Butternut Squash, Pomegranate, and Millet Salad

A new year means New Year's resolutions, many of which revolve around health and fitness. I think most of us are so disgusted with ourselves after overindulging since, well, probably Halloween, that a good cleanse of the system is definitely needed.

Below is a recipe for salad with butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, millet, grapes, broccoli, and greens. I've never used pomegranate seeds before in a salad until I tried them here. What a lovely addition! The seeds just burst with tart flavor and offer a nice contrast to the nuttiness of the millet and hazelnuts.

You know how Seinfield had the pantry full of cereal boxes? Well, mine looked very similar growing up. As I've been cooking more at home, I've discovered the deliciousness of butternut squash and arugula. How have I never had these wonderfully favorful veggies before? Yum, yum!

(this is gluten free and vegan, for those who are keeping track)

1 cup raw millet (quinoa may work as well, but the salad won't have the same rich, nutty flavor)
1 butternut squash, small-medium size
About 3/4 cup raw hazelnuts
2 avocados, diced
1 small head of broccoli, broken up into bite size florets
2 handfuls red or purple grapes, cut in half
2 handfuls greens, like arugula or watercress
Seeds from one pomegranate
1 handful basil, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and dice the butternut squash, making about 1 inch cubes. Put squash on baking tray, drizzle with EVOO and sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 mins, until the edges are slightly brown and the squash is soft. Let it cool completely.

Butternut favorite

During the last 10 minutes of baking time for the squash, put the hazelnuts (sprinkle with salt if you want) in the oven, on a separate tray. Toast them until they brown and the skin cracks. Let them cool a little. Then rub them with a kitchen towel or cloth so their skin comes off. This will be messy. Chop them up once most of the skin is removed.

Rinse the millet in a sieve, then place in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Boil the water, lower the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the water is gone and the millet is soft.

Prepare the avocados, broccoli, grapes, greens, and pomegranate seeds.

 Put dressing ingredients in food processor until desired thickness is reached. The dressing should be really light; not really a dressing as much as a light mix of herbs and olive oil.

dressing is ready to go

Place the cooked millet in a large bowl, add the dressing and mix, making sure the millet is coated with dressing. Add the rest of the ingredients to the millet and dressing and gently combine.

the finished product. i love how the pomegranate seeds add a burst of color.

This recipe makes about 4 larger servings, or more if using it as a side.
I hope you like this salad. I ate it for days and was really sad to finish it.