Quinoa is infused with fresh squeezed orange juice and vegetable stock, while pumpkin is tossed with shallots, orange wedges and chickpeas. Tangy feta cheese stands out on a warm backdrop of toasted walnuts and slow roasted orange, all dressed with a reduced balsamic. This recipe comes from Trudy of veggie.num.num.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1½ cups low sodium vegetable stock
juice from 1 orange
1 orange, peeled and cut into wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds pumpkin, diced into 1 centimeter cubes
1 cup chickpeas, cooked or canned and rinsed
5 shallots, quartered
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups rocket lettuces
7 ounces feta cheese*, crumbled
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
Place the quinoa, vegetable stock and juice from one orange into a medium pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Set aside.
Cut the remaining orange into wedges.
Toss the orange wedges, pumpkin pieces, chickpeas and shallots with the olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until chickpeas are crisp and pumpkin is tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Toast the walnuts for 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Allow the vinegar to come to a simmer. Whisk for 4-5 minutes, or until the balsamic has reduced by half and the vinegar is syrupy. Set aside to cool.
Place the quinoa in a large bowl. Add the roasted orange pumpkin mixture, toasted walnuts and rocket lettuces. Crumble the feta cheese on top, if using. Dress the salad with 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic reduction, or to taste, and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place equal portions in 4 bowls atop extra rocket lettuce. Sprinkle with a little more balsamic reduction if desired and enjoy.