Squash Salad with Crunchy Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Dressing

Squash Salad with Crunchy Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Dressing
Photo by Aaron Graubart / Styling by Hadas Smirnoff

Courtesy Marcus Samuelsson, author The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)

In The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), Marcus Samuelsson traces his journey from Ethiopia to Sweden, Central Europe and finally Harlem, which has become his greatest influence. This salad, suitable as an appetizer or entrée, makes inspired use of butternut squash, a fall staple. Pumpkin seed oil, available at gourmet markets, imparts a deep nuttiness, like brown butter.

  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons raw quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or sweet paprika or ground ancho chili pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons hulled green pumpkin seeds
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin seed oil (or more olive oil)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups ¼-inch-diced butternut squash
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Asian pears (or any ripe pears), cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 heads Belgian endive, leaves pulled apart
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup ½-inch-diced feta

In skillet over low heat, stir almonds and quinoa until deep golden, about 15 minutes. Pour into bowl, and toss in sugar, Aleppo pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Let cool.

To make dressing: In skillet over low heat, toast pumpkin seeds until they turn color, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In blender, purée egg yolk, cream and garlic until frothy. With blender running, slowly drizzle in  ½ cup olive oil, pumpkin seed oil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in pumpkin seeds.

To make salad: In large skillet over medium heat, warm ¼ cup olive oil. Season squash and onion with salt and pepper, and cook until squash is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Pour in ⅓ cup water. Cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to salad bowl. Let cool slightly. Add pears, endive and vinegar. Toss well. Top with quinoa mixture and feta. Serve with dressing on side. Serves 4–6.

Pair It

Patz & Hall 2014 Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay (Carneros); $55, 95 points. Samuelsson suggests a rich Chardonnay to complement the salad’s nutty flavors. This complex wine shows toasted-oak aromas and celebrates notions of pear, apple and almond atop lifted acidity and a lengthy finish.

Published on October 18, 2016
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net

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