EDIBLE AUTUMN

It is my absolute pleasure to present to you, autumn in a casserole dish.  For real, the root and mulled citrus flavors paired with the vibrant, warm colors of this dish sum up fall and make this the perfect dish for holiday season gatherings.  Bonus points for being super healthy, tasting delicious and serving 10-12 easily! It sounds like a lot of food but using these vegetables as they come ready in the grocery store makes a bountiful amount of salad.  Thankfully the salad is served cold and keeps perfectly for leftovers for days!  This recipe is super easy to make but does take time so make sure you have a leisurely afternoon ahead.  Perfect for a day cleaning, working from home or Netflix and chill-ing! 

I will keep the preamble for this amazing recipe short and sweet because it is literally the best tasting and most creative thing I've made in ages and I want to get straight to the point so you can make it too!  It's beautiful, SO good for you and the combination of these natural flavors is everything warm and fuzzy about the fall season wrapped up in one bite!

Ingredients

1 butternut squash

1 bunch of beets (2-3 beets)

1 lb brussel sprouts

2 cups rainbow quinoa

2 oranges, rinds only (1 zested, 1 peeled)

1 bay leaf

olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

Cook

Begin by cutting the stems off of the beets and giving them a good scrub down.  Wrap each beet in aluminum foil, leaving a small opening for steam to be released and pop directly onto your baking rack in oven.  Cook for 50 minutes at 400°F.  Once beets are cooked through and softened, remove from foil and allow to cool enough to handle with your hands.  Be careful!  These things are hot!  Once they cool down enough to the touch, dice them into bite size cubes and set aside.  Look at that bright burgundy red... I'll take a beet red dress for my holiday gathering too, please and thanks!

While the beets are cooking, you can begin to prep the next ingredients... P.S. This next step will make you feel like a gourmet chef! ;) 

Using a zester (or peel and mince with knife, if you don't have one), zest off the entire rind of your your first orange.  Set orange zest aside for garnish at the very end.

Using a peeler, remove the rind of your second orange.  Save a couple slices of the peel for later and pop the rest in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup of olive oil on low heat. Allow to simmer for a good 15 minutes.  Once the peels start to look a little wilted and sad you know your olive oil has soaked up all their delicious citrus flavor so you can remove from heat and discard the peels.  Set your orange infused olive oil aside for dressing the salad later.  Yeah, that's right.  You just made orange infused olive oil like it was no big deal.  Well done!

Next, peel, seed and dice your butternut squash.  Be aware that this is no easy feat.  Butternut squash is a big, dense vegetable so put those guns to use and be very cautious!  Once diced into bite size bits, lay squash flat on a baking dish and drizzle olive oil and sea salt, shaking the pan a bit to coat 'em all well!  Pop into oven for 45 minutes at 400°F.

Get to the brussel sprouts quick because you've got fifteen minutes to prep them for the oven!  Rinse them clean, chop off the ends and cut them each in half.  Place them, cut side down in a small baking pan and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.  Pop them in the oven alongside the squash and cook at 400°F for the remaining half an hour until crispy around the edges!

While your squash and sprouts cook, put your 2 cups of quinoa on the stovetop with 4 cups of water, the two orange peel slices you set aside earlier and one bay leaf.  Once water boils, turn heat down to low and let simmer while covered until water disappears... about 20 minutes but follow instructions on the packaging to be safe!  Once fully cooked, remove peels and leaf and fluff with fork.

Combine your vegetables and quinoa in a large dish and get to dressing!  For dressing, simply combine 1/4 cup of orange infused olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, sea salt to taste and pour over salad.  Toss to coat and sprinkle orange zest to garnish! 

Bam! You are a bonafide chef in my books for setting this incredible dish down on the table.  Watch your guests faces light up at the presentation alone!