I’ve been into warm salads lately. That’s why we can insert this easy butternut squash salad with quinoa and cranberry vinaigrette. Because it has all of the flavors, textures and temperatures you need to be satisfied this season.
Lets be honest, a cold salad just isn’t going to cut it this time of the year.
Fortunately, just adding a warm element, or two, making the salad at least 50% warm ingredients will amp up the satiety factor so you no longer have to think about the salad not holding you until the next meal or leaving you feeling cold and hungry.
Two bad scenarios.
But there actually is true science to back up the fact that the temperature of your meal actually affects how you digest and absorb those nutrients, and how you feel afterwards.
Why temperature of foods affects digestion:
It goes back to prove, that your body can only get the important vitamins and minerals if it is balanced.
What’s even more fascinating but not surprising, our bodily preferences change with the season. To give you an example, when fall and winter hit, we tend to feel more cold and dry. We can feel that right? That is one reason why you shouldn’t eat a lot of cold salads or drink a lot of cold smoothies and raw vegetables this time of the year. Your body is just not equipped to handle it, leaving you feeling hungry and not satisfied.
The short answer to this science is; our body is like a seasonal clock. Our primal instincts and our biological composure goes through a process called homeostasis, in which your body adapts to the natural environment around it to regulate its internal state, such as body temperature, blood sugar, hydration, sleep, etc.
Meaning that the cooler the air, the more energy your body needs to regulate its temperature. This also means that your body will crave heartier and more rich foods, especially ones that are warm helping to ease digestion, allowing you to absorb more nutrients and feel more satisfied.
So if you notice yourself being more tired and sleepy and your body temperature is cooler, this is exactly what is happening during the fall and winter months. A time of warmth, more rest and hot meals is required.
Why cold foods just aren’t cutting it:
Don’t feel discouraged if the cold salads and protein smoothies just aren’t cutting it this time of the year. They aren’t suppose to. I can promise you will be better off just eating what you can digest, absorb and what keeps you satisfied. Even if it doesn’t fit into the “diet” requirements everyone is telling you.
Trust me when I say that not eating seasonally is a stress to your body and specifically your GI system. So change it up, don’t be afraid of warm foods and cooked vegetables. It’s the little things that make all of the difference.
With that said, here’s to a warm salad. The only way to get lots of vegetables this season is by roasting them, sautéing them or using any other method to cook them. Now, not all of them must be cooked, but percentage wise you are looking for at least 50% each meal.
This butternut squash salad does just that. With the warm quinoa, nutty-roasted butternut squash, buttery-roasted mushrooms, sweet dried cranberries, crispy sage, micro-greens and a drizzle of the tart cranberry dressing. From rich and buttery to the splash of tart cranberries, this is satiety, flavor and all of the feels of fall in a bowl.
If you’re in the market for more warm salads, check this post out: 15 Healthy Fall Salad Recipes.
- 1 small roasted butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup micro-greens
- Cranberry Vinaigrette or Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette for dressing
- Peel, seed and cube butternut squash. Place in bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkled with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until fork tender and roasted on the outside.
- Make quinoa.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 2 Tbsp butter, add mushrooms. Saute until softened and golden.
- Add chopped sage and cook until crisp.
- In a bowl, add warm roasted butternut squash, quinoa, mushrooms and crispy sage, additional salt and pepper, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds.
- Drizzle with cranberry vinaigrette or your favorite balsamic dressing.
- ½ cup fresh cranberries
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp honey
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Place cranberries through honey in a food processes. Puree until smooth.
- Slowly add olive oil in a thin drizzle while processing.
- Mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!