Quinoa, squash and goat cheese salad board

Having fun in the kitchen

Some of my best meals have come from improvising. You know the scene: it’s the end of the week and your fridge is running low on ingredients yet you’re craving something delicious and satisfying. You could choose one of two approaches to this. Stress-out and make something quick, mindlessly and that ultimately won’t taste very good OR decide to relax, take the meditative approach and put a little love into it.

That was the scene when this salad came to be. I had my main protein figured out (salmon) but was desperate for a side that would satisfy my tastebuds and my appetite for health. I opted for approach number two.

So I started pulling ingredients and laying them out on the counter to build a balanced meal. Time for some fun.

“I’ve got my protein” I thought “Now on to the rest.”

Veggies? Baby arugula and scallions were all I had left.

High-fibre starches? I had quinoa and a small squash in the pantry and got those cooking, still not knowing what would come of them.

Healthy fats? Pecans, always in my freezer and good on basically anything.

Flavour-boosters? There was leftover goat cheese in the fridge. 

Perfect. Now to pull it all together? A nice hearty salad. No, a nice hearty salad board.

Bored of salad? Try a salad board!

I took one of my many decorative cutting boards (I collect them!) and decided to put it to use. I scattered the greens and scallions over the board, dolloped the squash-loaded quinoa on top, sprinkled the crunchy toasted pecans, dolloped the tangy and creamy goat cheese and drizzled a sweet yet acidic dressing over it all. I took a bite and was completely satisfied. 

Now of course, the board isn’t necessary. But laying the ingredients on a board rather than ia bowl allows you to drizzle the vinaigrette over your entire salad without overdressing and mushing the whole thing up. Plus, it looks beautiful too. Try it!

Quinoa, squash and goat cheese salad board
Serves 4
A simple, delicious salad with make-ahead components
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 1 small buttercup squash, sliced in half, seeds removed
  2. 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  3. 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  4. 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  5. 6 cups baby arugula
  6. 2 scallions, sliced
For the dressing
  1. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  2. 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  3. 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  4. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1 garlic clove, smashed
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
For the squash
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Rub a bit of olive oil on cut-side of the squash and lay it face down on the tray. Bake 35-40 minutes. Once baked, let it cook slightly, and peel off the skin. Chop the flesh roughly into cubes and set aside.
For the quinoa
  1. Bring 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and reduce to a simmer. 2. Let cook uncovered for 12 minutes. Cover the quinoa, remove from the heat and let it sit untouched for 5 minutes.
For the dressing
  1. Combine all the ingredients "for the dressing" and reserve.
Assembling the salad
  1. Add the chopped squash to the quinoa and mix to combine.
  2. To make the salad, begin by laying the arugula and scallions on a large cutting board. Top with the quinoa-squash mixture, goat cheese and toasted pecans. Drizzle with the maple dressing and enjoy.
  1. Meal prep tip! The squash and quinoa mix can be made ahead of time and even enjoyed on its own as a simple side.
Motive Nutrition http://motivenutrition.com/

I want to hear from you!

What is your approach in the kitchen? Frantic and stressed-out or calm and meditative? Have you ever made a salad board?








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