Meal Prep Squash & Almond Quinoa

Serves 5     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red onion
  • 2 cups baby spinach (torn or sliced into thin strands)
  • 1/3 cup smoked almonds (or toasted almonds)
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together squash, olive oil, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Stir until squash is well coated in the spice mixture.
Spread seasoned squash out onto a baking sheet. Roast squash at 375 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, or until tender and caramelized.
While the squash is cooking, cook your quinoa. Heat 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan until boiling. Add rinsed quinoa (I rinse mine in a fine-mesh sieve). Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover the pot and continue to cook about 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
When the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat and stir in lime juice, red onion, and baby spinach. Cover 4-5 minutes and allow the spinach to wilt and the onion to soften.
When the squash is finished roasting, stir into your quinoa mixture. Right before serving, sprinkle with almonds (and cilantro, if using).

Leftovers will keep at least 4-5 days in the fridge. If preparing for meal prep, store almonds separately from salad so they remain crunchy. I like to pack mine with an extra lime wedge to squeeze on each portion.

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Recipe Notes

Pack it for Meal Prep! This packs well in meal prep containers. The only thing I do is save the almonds for right before serving. I either tuck them into one of the side compartments, a little jar, or small bag on the side, then add them on top after re-heating the leftovers. I also like to store a lime wedge with each portion to squeeze on after re-heating, but that's just a personal preference.

Let's talk almonds. I love using smoked almonds for this. They taste smoky (because they're, you know, smoked) and have an almost barbecue taste, which is so nice with the veggies and lime. If you can't find/don't want to use smoked almonds, I recommend using toasted almonds, which also lend a gorgeous toasty flavor to the dish. I just stir them regularly in a dry pan on low heat for 5-10 minutes until they start to smell delicious and get a little color.

Smoked Paprika. Smoked Paprika might seem like a specialty ingredient, but it actually gets quite a bit of use in my kitchen, from Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Soup, to Beef Carnitas, to Spicy CRISPY Oven Fries, to Deviled Eggs and more. A little goes a long way, but it's such a nice flavor! I recommend not skipping it. If you need to or want do, you'll probably want to add a pinch of cumin or some additional chili powder to compensate.

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