Maple Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Shitake Mushrooms

I threw this dish together on a whim, so feel free to play with other flavor combinations that you think could work or that you might have on hand. I used this maple vinaigrette from a recent salad experiment and it complimented the flavors really well.  This hearty dish is perfect on a cold night. Serve with a fresh citrus and avocado salad or a shaved raw Brussels sprouts salad for a complete meal.

Maple Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Shitake Mushrooms
Serves 3-4 as a main dish

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup quinoa
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 onion, cut into small dice
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
handful of pine nuts, toasted
handful of dried cranberries
4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
5 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the butternut squash pieces out on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the maple syrup. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes until the squash is tender (a fork should easily be able to slide in and out).

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa by dry toasting in a saucepan for a minute or so. Add 2 cups water and and pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

To make the dressing, combine 3 Tbsp vinegar and 2 Tbsp maple syrup in a bowl. Whisk in 4 Tbsp olive oil until combined. Add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the garlic and onions and saute until just fragrant and the onions become translucent. Add in the mushrooms and saute for a few minutes. Then add the butternut squash, cranberries, and 1 cup of the quinoa. Stir to combine. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the pine nuts and freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

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