Sesame, Quinoa, Butternut Squash, and Pear Salad

This autumn salad is bursting with so many flavors…the quinoa provides the perfect backdrop for this grain salad full of fresh veggies, spices, nuts and diced pear. The quinoa is cooked with sesame oil, soy sauce, cinnamon and allspice giving the quinoa a very earthy flavor to create the perfect base layer of this salad. All of the other components are piled on top and finished with a balsamic vinegar dijon dressing. This salad could be served as a side dish or paired with crusty artisanal bread for a mid-day meal.


1 1/2 cup diced butternut squash
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pear, halved, cored, and diced (1/2 inch dice)
12 oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup roasted pistachios
1 cup arugula


  1. Place the squash in a shallow baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 7-8 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes; fluff with a fork. Let cool almost to room temperature. Gently fold in the squash, pear, and tomatoes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and olive oil; spoon over the quinoa mixture and toss lightly. Arrange the salad on a platter or individual plates and serve warm or chilled. Sprinkle with the pistachios and arugula just before serving.