When I Struggle With Food Photography + Squash Quinoa Salad with POM Dressing

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I reshot the pictures for this blog post 3 times. On 3 separate days. With 3 different sets of props. At 3 different times of the day. And guess what, I still don’t love the end result. This salad is super yummy because it’s topped with a POM Wonderful dressing (disclosure: I’m a spokesperson for POM Wonderful). But because of that deliciously tangy dressing, the quinoa turned a weird shade of purple. So that was strike 1. Then,  I couldn’t get the Brussels sprouts to really stand out like I wanted them to. Strike 2. There really isn’t a strike 3, but it just all didn’t go according to plan.

Squash Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts, vegan & gluten-free

Why am I even telling you this? Well, I’m dedicating myself to be more ‘real’ in my blog posts. If you know me in real life, you know that I’m always upfront and honest, and I want that to translate to my blog. The thing about being real is admitting when you just can’t get it right. This past week, I’ve spent some time with interns and non-blogging friends, and they seem so impressed with my photos and recipe creations, which actually shocked me a bit. Me? I feel like I’m pretty good at this stuff, but not great. But then I realize that I’m being too hard on myself.

After all, I am self-employed, and my work revolves around writing about interesting nutrition info, creating recipes and taking photos of food. I’m forced to use my creativity on a daily basis, and sometimes it doesn’t go as well as I planned, but it still works out pretty well. Rather than do the womanly thing and not accept a compliment, I’m going to say that this photo is good enough and throw it up here. Because whether or not the photo is the best, it’s still better than the ones I was taking a year ago and I’m proud of that.

Squash Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts, vegan & gluten-free

And despite what it looks like, this salad is really yummy.

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Oh yeah, I should probably tell you about the salad! As any healthy foodie out there, I love all the different varieties of squash this time of year. For this salad, I tried something new to me, Carnival Squash. It tastes very similar to acorn squash, and it doesn’t need to be peeled. The roasted squash is mixed with charred Brussels, quinoa and a POM Wonderful vinaigrette. If you’ve never had POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice before, it’s a bit tangy, contains no added sugar and is chock-full of antioxidants.

Squash Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts, vegan & gluten-free

So I hope you give  this salad a try and know that it tastes better than it looks.

Squash Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts, vegan & gluten-free
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Squash Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts and POM Vinaigrette

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 small carnival or acorn squash 1/2 inch wide slices
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the squash, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix until well combined. Lay on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Lay on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the POM Wonderful, rice vinegar, honey, pepper and rosemary.
  5. Combine the cooked quinoa, cooked squash, roasted Brussels sprouts and POM dressing. Mix together well. Season with salt and pepper.

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