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16 March 2015

Butternut Squash & Falafel 3 Grain Salad

Serves: 4
Time: 45 mins

3 Grain Squash & Falafel Salad
Butternut Squash & Falafel 3 Grain Salad
This salad can be eaten hot or cold but either way it is a true delight! If eating cold I would recommend making ahead of time and assembling when ready to eat. I used a mix of quinoa, red quinoa & bulgur wheat for this salad, infused with the aroma of fresh lemon juice, served with roasted butternut squash, sundried tomatoes, homemade baked falafel & drizzled with a tangy dijon vinaigrette that really steals the show. There are many debates to whether quinoa is considered a grain or a seed but for the purposes of this post I'm going to call it a grain - it is a superfood that is high in fiber as well as a complete protein, this means it contains all the essential amino acids that we need. One of the only other plant based complete proteins are soy beans - meaning that it is not just the grams of protein that we eat everyday that are important, but also the types of plant based  protein sources to ensure all the essential amino acids are consumed.
Butternut Squash & Falafel 3 Grain Salad
 This dish is perfect for a special occasion, for a picnic or even to take for your lunch everyday. I made this for my mum for the main element of a mother's day picnic at Monkey World and she was really amazed at how delicious it was - despite being so healthy! The vinaigrette definitely contributes to the wow factor when you're eating this salad, it brings your tastebuds to life and perfectly compliments the dish! When eating leafy greens like spinach there are certain vitamins which are fat soluble - meaning they need fat present during digestion for maximum absorption and there are also so many health claims about the benefits of apple cider vinegar that this really is a super salad dressing - providing both nourishment and flavour! The homemade falafel really surprised my mum too; she couldn't believe how well the flavours replicated that of shop bought falafel - without all the additives and other ingredients you may not need, nothing but true, authentic tasting delicious & healthy falafel, you really do have to make your own!
Butternut Squash & Falafel 3 Grain Salad

You'll need:

  • Baking Tray
  • Saucepan
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing bowl
  • Serving spoon
  • Small jar with a sealed lid

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups mixed grains
  • 4 cups veggie stock
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1/2 unwaxed cucumber
  • 8 sundried tomatoes
  • 4 large handfuls watercress, spinach & rocket
  • 12 falafel 
Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Peel the butternut squash with a knife or vegetable peeler and chop into roughly 2cm cubes - you'll need a really sharp knife for this! Roast in the oven for 30-35 mins.
  3. Make the falafel.
  4. Meanwhile, add the grains and stock to the saucepan, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 mins until all the liquid has been absorbed, stirring every 5 minutes. Squeeze over the lemon juice and fluff up with a fork when cooked.
  5.  Cut up the cucumber and sundried tomatoes into small  bite sized chunks and roughly chop the salad leaves. 
  6. Add the cider vinegar, mustard and olive oil into your jar and shake together well, you may need to shake together again before serving.
  7. Add the grains, squash, tomatoes cucumber and salad leaves into a bowl and toss together well (Either let all the elements cool before assembling into a salad or serve up warm). Serve up into portions, top with 3 falafel per person, drizzle over the vinaigrette and thoroughly enjoy! Cassidy xx
Just a quick tip - if saving for later, wait to add the vinaigrette until just before consuming & make sure the quinoa has cooled thoroughly before adding the salad leaves; you don't want to cook them!


Butternut Squash & Falafel 3 Grain Salad