Food fact! Quinoa is so nutritious and protein-packed that NASA has recommended it for space flights and the United Nations has suggested it for feeding people in areas where food is scarce. Not only is it good for us, but quinoa also has a wonderful nutty taste that works great in a salad, particularly with the sweet and salty flavour of butternut with halloumi. When all the ingredients are cooked, drizzle the dish with tahini dressing and sprinkle with walnuts for a heavenly dinnertime experience.
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Red and Black Quinoa
Preheat your oven to 220°C and bring a saucepan of water to the boil on medium high heat. Trim the butternut squash then halve lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Chop it widthways into 2cm wide slices, then chop into 2cm chunks (no need to peel!). Zest and halve the lemon. Drain and chop the halloumi into 2cm chunks.
Place the butternut on a large baking tray in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then roast on the top shelf of your oven until golden and tender, 25-30 mins. Turn halfway through. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then lay in the pan skin side down and fry until golden, 4-5 mins. Turn and fry for 1 minute on the other side, then transfer to the baking tray with the butternut and roast for the remaining 15-20 mins. IMPORTANT: The chicken is cooked when no longer pink in the middle.
Meanwhile, add the quinoa and a pinch of salt to the boiling water and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the seed has split, about 10 mins. Drain in a sieve and leave to the side to cool.
While everything cooks, put the tahini in a bowl and add the honey, olive oil (see ingredient list for amount) and water (see ingredient list for amount). Squeeze in the juice from half the lemon, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir until smooth (use a fork if easier). Taste and add more lemon juice, salt and pepper if you feel it needs it. Leave to the side.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan on medium high. Once the oil is hot, add the halloumi and fry until golden on each side, 5-6 mins total. Turn every 1-2 mins. Remove the pan from the heat. Have a tidy up if your butternut squash hasn't quite finished roasting.
Once everything is cooked, put the chicken on a chopping board. Pop the squash, lemon zest, quinoa, rocket and half the halloumi into a bowl. Add three quarters of the dressing and gently toss everything together Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the chicken. Pop the jumble into bowls and top with the chicken and remaining halloumi. Drizzle over the remaining dressing. Serve with any remaining lemon chopped into wedges, and enjoy!