There is just so much to say.
I almost feel bad for my Chickpea and Raw Vegetable Salad because if these two got into a bar fight it would get OWNED. Yea it’s not exactly a fair fight- the raw vegetable salad is a great cleanse situation but this salad is just INSANE.
Here is how this salad came to be… As a new Chicago resident I have already started creeping on local restaurant menus like a crazy person (you do it too). And by creeping I mean harddd creeping . As in I was even on the restaurants Instagram page. Which is where I saw THIS:
Well… how can I not get involved in that? I made a reservation ASAP but clearly this is not something I could wait to taste which is how it came to be in my kitchen. It’s unclear whether I made it how they do or if it tastes remotely similar but I am certainly not mad about how it turned out. And by not mad I mean I ate nothing else for three days after making it. I barely shared.
0.75 peeled and cubed butternut squash (why 0.75? because I got lazy- you could be more or less lazy than me and that’s fine adjust to your taste)
I head cauliflower (with the florets cut from the core)
0.75 pounds mushrooms (I did half cremini and half shitake- these cook down a great deal but I live for shrooms so if you want to do less or sub these with something else do you)
3 handfuls of arugula (depends on the size of your paws and how much you want in the salad)
1 cup of quinoa (are you sick of all my ingredient qualifiers yet?)
2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock (optional)
3 ounces of comte cheese (adding cheese is optional- you could DEFINITELY sub parm, pecorino, maybe even goat or feta cheese)
0.25 cups dried cherries
0.25 cups red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar
Place squash and cauliflower on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil (a couple tablespoons for each), salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or until they are done (taste test always best).
Cook the quinoa in the stock (or water) according to the package. I bring the stock and quinoa to a boil over high heat and then cover, reduce to low for 15 minutes and fluff with a fork.
While this is happening soak the dried cherries in the red wine vinegar for half an hour.
Heat up a few tablespoons of olive in a large sauté pan over medium-medium high heat. Saute the mushrooms until cooked through. I did this in three batches so the mushrooms would not steam from an overcrowded pan. Set aside.
Roughly chop the cherries and whisk with the red wine vinegar you soaked them in, the balsamic vinegar and sherry vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Salt/pep to taste.
Toss the squash, cauliflower, quinoa and mushrooms together. Already I am freaking out at this point because the vegetables each have such a different texture I know my mouth is going to explode. Add the dressing. Remember you can always add more dressing but you can’t take away so don’t go crazy all at once. Add in the arugula and toss lightly. Using a vegetable peeler shave large pieces of the comte cheese over the top.
I served this warm with a piece of fish and it was everything I wanted. Then I had it the next day for lunch cold and couldn’t believe it had gotten EVEN BETTER.