Roasted Squash and Einkorn Wheat Salad Recipe

Roasted Squash and Einkorn Wheat Salad

Today’s salad could be seen as a winter alter ego to this tomato and einkorn wheat salad from half a year ago, and it is proof that my love story with einkorn wheat wasn’t just a summer crush.

Today’s salad mixes the ancient grain (see my previous post for more on the back story) with chunks of spiced and roasted potimarron (a.k.a. Hokkaido squash, my very favorite of all winter squashes), shallots, chopped fresh herbs, and walnuts.

It’s the kind of salad of both substance and grace with a good balance of textures that I am content to eat on its own for lunch, or serve as a side. It travels well, too, so it’s a fine option for a packed lunch, or when you have to take a dish somewhere.

In fact, I first made it to bring as my dinner contribution to our dear friends Derrick and Melissa’s apartment when they were visiting during the Paris snowpocalypse in early December, to go with the duck magrets that Derrick would be roasting.

Maxence liked it so much that when we got home that night — after a vivifying Velib’ ride across a snow-ridden city because we’d long missed the last métro — he specifically requested I write down how I’d made it, so I wouldn’t let it fall down the rabbit hole of good but forgotten ideas.

I followed his advice and scribbled the broad strokes of it in the little cooking notebook I keep, the cover of which makes me smile every time I pick it up. And I made the salad again with the next potimarron that came my way, and then with an unsuspecting butternut squash, and again with a potimarron for our New Year’s Eve party, where it did not quite outshine the guest magician who made our evening so special, but close.

Roasted Squash and Einkorn Wheat Salad

- 1 medium Hokkaido squash, about 1.2 kilos (2 1/2 pounds) (other winter squashes may be substituted; just make sure you pick a variety that holds its shape when cooked)
- 1 tablespoon ras-el-hanout, or other warm spice mix
- ground cayenne pepper, to taste
- 380 grams (2 cups) uncooked einkorn wheat (spelt may be substituted)
- 2 medium shallots, peeled and finely minced
- one bunch fresh cilantro, parsley, tarragon, or a mix thereof, roughly chopped
- the meat from about 20 walnuts, crumbled
- olive oil
- sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Serves 8.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F).

Split the squash into quarters using a large, well sharpened knife, and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh. It is unnecessary to peel the squash if it’s an organic Hokkaido or butternut squash, but if you’re using another kind, you may have to peel it. Cut the flesh into bite-size cubes.

Oil a rimmed baking sheet and spread the cubed squash on it. Sprinkle with the ras-el-hanout, cayenne pepper, and some salt. Drizzle with olive oil, toss well to coat, arrange in an even layer, and insert in the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash is tender and golden in places, stirring halfway through. Let cool to room temperature.

In the meantime, cook the einkorn wheat according to package instructions, adding the minced shallots to the cooking water. (I cook mine in my pressure cooker in a scant 3 cups of salted water with a bay leaf and the shallots, and it takes 25 minutes counting from the whistle of the valve.) Let cool to room temperature.

In a large salad bowl, combine the einkorn wheat and roasted squash with the herbs, walnuts, and a generous sprinkle of pepper, working gently to avoid squishing the squash (haha). Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve immediately, or cover and reserve in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. You can also make the salad a day ahead, in which case I recommend holding the fresh herbs to add them just before serving.

Cooking/baking time: 40 min

  • http://www.gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    Mmm…
    I’m eating a wheat and tofu salad for lunch!

  • http://www.tandcake.wordpress.com Tamsin

    Sounds delicious, I’m always on the hunt for new packed lunch ideas. I wonder if some crumbled feta cheese would make a nice addition?

  • http://www.wearenotmartha.com Sues

    Yum! Now I’m totally craving a nice hearty salad like this. I’m stuck inside in a blizzard with no food :x I was supposed to be traveling today so I haven’t been to the grocery store, but now I’m stuck here until tomorrow!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Oh no! If I could teleport a bowl of this over to you, I would. :)

  • http://www.dragonnfruit.com dragon fruit

    yummm!!! delicious and healthy = love :)

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    Mmm. There’s almost nothing ras-el-hanout doesn’t improve, huh? Garam masala or curry powder would work well too, or even a bit of harissa paste, I imagine . . . what other “warm spice mix” would you add?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The ones you suggest are exactly what I had in mind!

  • http://www.seasonalcookinturkey.blogspot.com Seasonal Cook in Turkey

    what on earth is einkorn wheat? Or spelt for that matter? you have to forgive me, I live in Turkey and although we have great stuff here, we don’t have anything fancy. but I like dishes like this so do please give me a clue as to what I can substitute!

    Claudia from Istanbul

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Einkorn wheat and spelt are two types of grain somewhat similar to wheat. I’m using the whole berries here, and they’re pleasantly chewy and mild in flavor. I don’t know what you have access to, but you could substitute another type of grain, such as wheat berries, barley, oat groats or rye berries.

      • http://www.einkorn.com/ Einkorn Wheat

        Einkorn wheat berries are easily purchased online at http://www.einkorn.com.

        The key nutritional characteristics of einkorn set it apart from other types of wheat because of it’s high levels of vitamin A, lutein, and protein.

  • http://naturally-delicious.blogspot.com/ renee

    Thanks for this recipe. I have a bowl of butternut squash staring me down, aching to be cooked. I may try this recipe with some brown rice I cooked last night, I think the texture will stand in nicely for the einkorn. You’ve steered me away from the more labor intensive butternut squash soup i had planned.

  • http://three-cookies.blogspot.com/ Three-Cookies

    Looks really colorful and delicious. Very well balanced with different textures. I have not heard of einkorn wheat, perhaps bulgur, polenta or wild rice could be a substitute?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You can certainly try any of these substitutions, except perhaps for the polenta, which I think would make the overall dish too sweet. Spelt (a.k.a. farro), as indicated in the recipe, is a closer substitute, or barley, and both can be found easily at natural food stores.

  • http://spicesavant.blogspot.com Ameya

    Delicious winter variation! Grain and vegetable salads indeed make for very satisfying one-dish meals, and the variations are endless. I would love to relish this salad, maybe with just a bit of parmesan cheese, which I love with squash :)

  • http://www.aplumbyanyothername.blogspot.com A Plum By Any Other Name

    There is something special about a well worn, okay, slightly abused–but in a good way–kitchen notebook to save successful recipe ideas. (Okay, at least that’s how mine looks.) So glad this salad made it in yours!

  • http://www.melomeals.blogspot.com Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day

    What wonderful flavors and textures! I love cilantro and walnuts together and the mouthfeel of the wheat is so satisfying.

  • http://www.jammychicken.com/ jammy chick

    Potimarron squash are difficult to find where I am, but I plan on growing them this summer in the garden. I look forward to trying this out soon!

  • http://bingo.ladbrokes.com/en/ helen d

    i love a winter salad, this one sounds yummy. I haven’t come across Einkorn Wheat before, but it sounds interesting.

  • http://www.thenewlywedchefs.com The Newlywed Chefs

    Yum! This looks tasty and healthy!

  • http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/cuisinediplomatic Louisa

    Sounds really great Clotidle! It’s summer here in Australia, so I will have to try the tomato version.

  • NicM

    I just received a Hokkaido squash with my CSA and this looks like the perfect recipe to try it out.

  • statgirl

    The recipe says that Hokkaido and Butternut squashes don’t need to be peeled. I’ve never had Hokkaido squash, but I didn’t think Butternut squash peel could be eaten (or, if it is edible I think it would be too coarse and chewy to be enjoyable). Am I reading the recipe wrong?

    • Gill

      I usually wrap a whole butternut in foil and cook it in the oven when roasting a chicken or put it in the ashes when cooking over a fire when we are camping. The skin goes so soft you can eat it or if you don’t like it, it is easy to scrape the flesh off it

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      When I roast butternut squash, I don’t peel it. As Gill said above, I find that the skin softens enough that it’s good to eat, and it helps keep the squash chunks in whole pieces. But I’ll note that I generally buy medium-sized butternut squashes, and perhaps the skin of larger ones is too thick/tough for that. You’re welcome to peel it if you prefer.

  • Rachel

    This looks wonderful – and coincidentally, I happen to have a kabocha and half a packet of spelt in the house! I was thinking of using them for a similar but more complicated recipe (spelt, kabocha and cavolo nero stir-fry) but this looks not only less labor-intensive but fresher-tasting. Now I know what I’m taking to work for lunch next week. :)

  • http://www.bestparking.com/buffalo-airport-parking/ John at BUF

    That Roasted Squash and Einkorn Wheat Salad makes me so hungry now.

  • http://www.lambsearsandhoney.com Amanda

    Einkorn wheat is new to me, but all the other ingredients in this recipe resonate well and truly for me, so I look forward to giving this one a try. In fact i was thinking of making a pumpkin salad to go with dinner tonight!

  • http://www.therapistinthekitchen.wordpress.com The Therapist in the Kitchen

    Squash is one of my favorite foods. This recipe sounds amazing.

  • http://foodieandthechef.com/ foodie and the chef

    I’ve only recently discovered einkorn – I absolutely love it. This looks so tasty and nourishing; and right up my alley – will have to try for tea tomorrow. Thanks !

  • http://beyondthepeel.blogspot.com France

    I love this salad. I use wheat berries a lot because I have access to them but I’ve never had Einkorn Wheat. Sorry for my ignorance, but what would you say is the predominant taste difference between the 2? I like the idea of the extra protein so I’m definitely interested.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I think you’ll find the flavor is, in fact, quite similar. Not exactly the same — the berries are smaller and nuttier — but mostly I like to use einkorn wheat for variety, because we eat so much regular wheat in so many foods as it is, it feels right to change things up wherever I can.

  • Joan

    ah..notebooks and recipes…daughter Sophie can’t even stand looking at my scribbled notes..she thinks I have a quite particular shorthand..bp has always been baking powder..einkorn wheat..oh the things I’m learning here :-)

  • http://www.breakupwatch.com Sara

    That sounds awesome! I can’t wait to try it.

  • http://adventuresinalowgiworld.blogspot.com/ Louise

    I just love roasted pumpkin (as we in Australia would call it) and I love ras el hanout and coriander so this salad really speaks to me. I remember the recipe for your tomato and einkorn wheat summer salad, and now I want this one even more. It sounds delicious. I can’t find special types of wheat in Australia, I might try it with barley (we have fresh pumpkin available year round)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Barley sounds like a great option, Louise. Do report back if you try it!

  • http://www.knife-set.org Irene

    hmmm… This is the first time i’ve heard of einkorn wheat but i love squash and this recipe looks delicious so i’ll be trying it. Thanks!

  • Richard

    Mmm. Sounds really good. We make a very similar dish with roasted butternut chunks, barley cooked in stock, toasted pecans or walnuts, caramelised onions, and dressed with walnut and olive oil. Absolutely delicious.

    Just seen the post above: Louise, barley works fantastically. Rinse it well before cooking, and cook it in stock.

  • Angela

    This sounds wonderful. I’m going to try a variation using sweet potatoes and quinoa

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Let us know how it turns out, Angela!

      • Angela

        It was wonderful. I also used leeks in place of the shallots, but I kept the walnuts. You have a wonderful and flexible “formula” here for any kind of squash and grain salad or pilaf. Your blog is inspiring. Thanks!

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Thank you, Angela, for sharing your variation!

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