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Rancho La Puerta's blog about healthy and happy living.

Category Archives: Recipes

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Feta, and Pecans

Joan Nathan at Rancho La Puerta 26This delicious salad dish is from a recent hands-on cooking class taught at our cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta, with renowned guest chef, Joan Nathan.  Perfect for chilly winter days, this warm salad is bursting with flavor.  It can be used as a side for dinner parties or as a hearty and healthy dinner for two.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ butternut squash peeled and cut in ½-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked red or black quinoa
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • ½ cup toasted pecans
  • 1 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese, or to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on a baking tray.  Arrange the squash on the tray, coat with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt and pepper, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until tender and slightly browned. Be sure not to overcrowd the squash and use two baking sheets if necessary.
  2. Warm a small skillet over medium heat and toast the quinoa, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the quinoa smells nutty. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. When the water is boiling, add the quinoa and a large pinch of salt. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is al dente and a light, spiral-like thread appears around each grain. Drain the quinoa and put in a large bowl, then gently fluff with a fork.
  3. Put the quinoa in the bottom of an attractive bowl, then layer with the squash. Sprinkle the scallions, pecans, mint, cilantro, and feta over the quinoa and squash. Just before serving, gently toss the ingredients to combine, sprinkle with more salt and black pepper to taste, and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over all.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


You can substitute sliced, dried apricots for the butternut squash and add Swiss chard or spinach cut using the chiffonade technique.

Joan Nathan will offer two hands-on culinary experiences the week of April 18 in 2015, 3.5 hours each, during which you will enjoy preparing your own meal along with fellow cooks. Classes take place at La Cocina Que Canta, our culinary center on Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm. For more information and registration, please click here.



Butternut Squash Flan Recipe

Are you looking for a unique alternative to traditional pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving season?  The Butternut Squash Flan recipe from Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World-Famous Spa may be just what you’re searching for. Traditional flan is creamy, rich, … Continue reading


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