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Quinoa, Beetroot, Squash, and Feta Salad

A perfect bridging dish as we move from colder weather into springtime, this main-meal salad incorporates beets and squash on the one hand, and tender baby spinach, fresh mint, and spring onions on the other. Vibrantly colorful, richly flavorful, and bursting with nutritional goodness to boot — delightful in every way!

Quinoa, Beetroot, Squash, and Feta Salad

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into bite-size pieces (about 1½ lbs. prepared squash)
4 raw beetroots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbs. olive oil
2 oz. hazelnuts (scant ½ cup)
4 oz. quinoa (½ cup plus 2 tbs.)
5 oz. baby spinach leaves
small bunch mint leaves, roughly chopped
bunch spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
7 oz. feta, crumbled

For the dressing:

4 tbs. canola oil
2 tbs. honey
2 tbs. white wine vinegar
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
zest 1 orange
pinch red pepper flakes

Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the squash and beet pieces on a roasting tray, toss in the oil and lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for about 40-50 minutes until they soften. Once cooked, leave to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, put the hazelnuts on a small baking tray and roast for 8 minutes until golden. Leave to cool slightly, then roughly chop and leave to one side.

Rinse the quinoa in cold water, then put in a saucepan with 10 oz. cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Leave to cool.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well (or whisk together in a small bowl). You may roast the vegetables and nuts, make the dressing, and cook the quinoa a few hours in advance. Cover and keep in the fridge until you are ready to finish.

To finish, put everything, except the hazelnuts and feta, in a bowl, pour over the dressing and toss together well. Serve sprinkled with the feta and hazelnuts.

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