Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salads have been a staple lately. I make a big batch of quinoa, roast up some veggies (it's been extra hot here, so I quite literally carry our toaster oven into the garage and roast them in there so that the house doesn't take all that extra heat), allow everything to cool, and then toss it all with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, feta, toasted pine nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette.

The combo is light but satisfying, summery and fresh. And just look at that rainbow of colors:  

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Another perk when it comes to quinoa salads is that you can very easily adapt them. Recently I added chickpeas in place of feta (a good vegan option, if you're into that), made a red wine, garlic and herb vinaigrette lemon, and served it all over butterhead lettuce instead of baby greens. Voila! A totally different experience, but the same exact method. 

The point is, you can swap whatever the heck is in season into this recipe. This particular recipe uses peak-of-summer crops. Some other combos to tantalize your tastebuds with:

  • Cherry tomatoes, bite-sized fresh mozzarella pieces, and basil with balsamic vinaigrette

  • Fresh tomato, cucumber, parsley, kalamata olives and chickpeas for a greek version

  • Bell peppers, broccoli florets, cilantro, bean sprouts, and a sesame soy dressing

  • Sugar snap peas, roasted asparagus, radishes, and sprouts for a cheery spring edition

  • Roasted butternut squash cubes, goat cheese, black beans, and walnuts for a late summer or fall version

But for now, onward to this summery rainbow of a recipe! 

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Published June 19, 2018 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 60 minutes


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2-3 cups baby greens (such as baby kale or spinach) 

  • For the dressing:
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Dice eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Slice summer squash into half moons, and slice red onion into medium-large wedges. Spread all of them out on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil, tossing them in the oil to coat. Roast veggies for 30-40 minutes, until onions are brown on the edges and eggplant is very soft the whole way through, and starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
    2. In a large salad bowl, combine: cooled quinoa and cooled roasted veggies, sliced grape tomatoes, minced parsley, feta, pine nuts, and baby greens.
    3. In a small jar, combine ingredients for dressing. Close jar and shake to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss until everything is combined. Serve.


    Instant Pot Lamb & Winter Squash Tagine with Apricots

    Lamb & Winter Squash Tagine with Apricots

    After circling campus not once, but twice, before finding a parking spot, I jumped out of the car and half walked, half ran to the ATLAS building--one of my favorite buildings on campus when I was a student. It was probably just my favorite because it hosted a tea shop, but today I didn't have time to wait in line for a cuppa. 

    The building was exactly the same but I still felt a bit lost, my years away from campus quickly piling up. When I finally found the basement, rows and rows of stackable chairs were already filled with students. A projector blasted light to a screen in the front, which said, "Kimbal Musk: Real Food For Everyone." 

    I found a seat in the back--the only place there was room- and pulled Evernote up on my phone. Is this what it feels like to be a journalist? I wondered. 

    When Kimbal emerged on stage there was applause, and he started into his presentation quickly. First, a quick background on his life, then a slide for each of his new ventures, all aiming towards to same goal: make the production of real food (i.e., not industrial food) scalable, so that everyone can be healthier, farmers are supported, and our food is good

    I jotted down just about everything I heard, as is my note-writing style. Over the last year I have started writing a monthly food trend report at work, which is sent to our clients or whoever else signs up (if you're interested, you could sign up here). 

    An hour later I was back on the street. My mind circled on what Kimbal said, the questions students asked, and questions I wished I had time to ask. I thought to myself, If I were a journalist, what would be the lead story here? As a marketer, just pretending to be a journalist for the morning, I was coming up short. I dove head-first into other work hoping an answer would just come to me.  

    Instant Pot Lamb & Winter Squash Tagine with Apricots
    Instant Pot Lamb & Winter Squash Tagine with Apricots

    Of Kimbal's three projects, the one I am most familiar with is The Kitchen restaurants. When I was a kid, and my dad didn't feel like cooking dinner, we went out. The Kitchen was one of our hot spots, at least until it became impossible to get a table after 5pm. One of the first menus had the best butternut squash soup I've ever had, now glorified in my memory with impossible flavors.

    However, it was his third project that inspired me the most: Square Roots is a plan for urban farming. (I know, I know, I skipped his second... but I was just trying to get to the recipe already! His second project is called Learning Gardens). While I have no background in farming, I have a romantic vision of what it means to grow your own food. That vision is squashed each time the seasons change--here in Colorado I can't expect to grow much past October. (This very morning, I went to water the few plants that survived our recent snow storm, only to find our hose was frozen through. So much for that plan). However, with a blog name like Foraged Dish, you can imagine that eating real food, that can be picked with your very own hands, lies near and dear to my heart. There's something spectacular about nurturing growth. Home grown, or locally grown food always tastes better to me. If nothing else, it's an emotional connection to the food, that triggers something in my brain, fooling me into thinking it's better tasting. 

    While I'm still not sure what "lead story" a seasoned journalist would've found, I left inspired to do even more of my own urban homesteading. Something possessed me to download four books about building chicken coops yesterday, and two about backyard farming. The minute I planted the garden this spring, there was a sense it wasn't big enough. Next year, I told myself. Next year. 

    This tagine is everything you want in a stew on a cold winter day. It is sweet from the squash, and spicy from the blend of spices. Both flavors pair perfectly with lamb. And it's easy to find local lamb, at least in these parts! Head to your farmers market, or ask your grocer if their lamb is local. You can use almost any type of winter squash (I would skip spaghetti squash, but butternut, kabocha, and pumpkin would all work well), so use something from a fall farm stand or better yet, something you grew this summer. The chickpeas are optional (obviously including them would make this dish not Paleo compliant), but I find they add something that would be missing otherwise. Then again, I'm just a sucker for chickpeas.

    Instant Pot Lamb & Winter Squash Tagine with Apricots

    Instant Pot Lamb & Winter Squash Tagine with Apricots

    Published November 9, 2017 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 50 minutes


    • 1 pound cubed lamb shoulder
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1 onion
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 inches fresh ginger
    • 1/2 pound or medium-sized winter squash (I used Red Kuri, but kabocha, or butternut would all work well)
    • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout (buy it, or make your own - I used half of this recipe)
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2-3 cups beef stock
    • 3/4 cup dried apricots
    • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
    • Optional: 1 14-ounce can chickpeas (For Paleo, skip these)
    • For serving: A few leaves of cilantro
    • For serving: Cooked cauliflower rice, rice, quinoa or couscous


    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of your Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Dice onion, and add to the pot. Sauté until transparent.
    2. Add cubed lamb to pot, browning on all sides. Mince garlic and ginger, and add to pot. Stir.
    3. Cube the squash: first, cube the squash in half, and remove the seeds. (you can choose if you would like to remove the skin. I leave it on for kabocha and red kuri squash, as it gets quite soft). Dice into 1-inch cubes. Add to the pot, along with the ras el hanout, black pepper, salt, stock, dried apricots, canned tomatoes, and chickpeas, if using. Stir everything until incorporated. Then, secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set to “Stew” setting for 20 minutes.
    4. Once 20 minutes is up, release pressure. Serve over cauliflower rice/rice/quinoa/couscous, and top with a few cilantro leaves. Serve hot.

    Instant Pot Lamb & Winter Squash Tagine with Apricots & Chickpeas

    Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

    Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

    Two weeks ago I got a terrible head cold that at first made my throat feel like a solid piece of rock and then morphed into congestion and then just left me aching. When I finally got a solid night of sleep (like a really solid night of sleep--12 hours, or more), I felt like I could think again. Smelling, tasting, and swallowing were still a day away. 

    The worst part of a head cold to me is that your body feels totally fine--like you could run a mile- but the minute you try to do anything, you realize it was a terrible, terrible idea. By Friday I felt well enough to hit the climbing gym again, and doing so plastered a fixed smile across my face. I could taste again too, so when I got home I cooked the pumpkin I hadn't found energy to cook earlier in the week. Golden pumpkin with savory Merkén Chile: it was the first thing I smelled all week. 

    Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey
    Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

    That pumpkin filled my house with the scent of it's caramelizing edges and steaming Merkén chile. They were beautiful, but that smell was what really swept me off my feet. A drizzle of honey was all that was missing. (Doesn't honey make everything better?)

    If you can't find Merkén chile don't sweat it: you can use any kind of smoked red chile flake in this recipe. 

    Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey
    Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

    Roasted Pumpkin with Merkén Chile & Honey

    Published October 19, 2017 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 50 minutes


    • 1 small pumpkin
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt 
    • 2 teaspoons merkén chile, or other smoked red chile flake
    • 1-2 tablespoons honey 
    • Garnish: 2 tablespoons minced cilantro


    1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice pumpkin half, remove stem, and seeds. Slice into wedges, about 1-inch thick.
    2. Fit a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pumpkins on pan, and brush with avocado oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and merkén. Place in oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until pumpkin is tender all the way through, and starting to brown on the edges.
    3. Remove from oven, and drizzle lightly with honey. Garnish with minced cilantro.