Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is a hearty vegan quinoa salad with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate and a tangy, sweet apple cider maple dressing!

butternut squash quinoa salad on a platter

**This post was originally published in October 2012.  The photos, text and recipe have been updated.

Seven long years ago I attended a potluck at a barre studio, and the owner served a butternut squash quinoa salad.  Quinoa was the trendy new thing back then, so I was really excited about that salad.  

I really enjoyed it, and got right to work creating my own version.  

And guess what?  I still love this butternut squash quinoa today.  I’m the only one in my house that eats quinoa, but I’m ok with that.

That just means there’s more for me. 🙂

close up of butternut squash quinoa salad

This butternut squash quinoa salad is truly fall in a bowl.  It’s packed with gorgeous colors, fall flavors, and amazing textures that make it unforgettable.

Tender, roasted butternut squash is combined with hearty quinoa, baby kale, green onions, pomegranate arils and pecans, and it’s all tossed in a tangy, sweet apple cider maple dressing.

I love that this salad is versatile enough to be a main dish, side dish or lunch.  It’s also perfect for entertaining as it can be made in advance.

The fact that it’s easy on the eyes doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

What is quinoa?

Quinoa (keen-wah) is considered an ancient grain, but it’s not really a grain at all.  It’s actually a seed from a plant that’s closely related to beets and spinach.

While quinoa isn’t a grain, it’s often prepared like rice, barley and other grains.  That’s where the similarities end, however, because quinoa is much more nutritious than most grains.

Benefits of quinoa

Below are some of the reasons why quinoa is dubbed a superfood:

  • it’s a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids
  • it’s high in iron, magnesium, antioxidants and other minerals
  • it contains a large amount of flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory 
  • it contains more fiber than any other grain
  • it’s gluten-free
  • it’s low glycemic index, which is good to control blood sugar
overhead of butternut squash quinoa salad on a platter

How to prep and cut butternut squash

It only takes about 5 minutes to break down a butternut squash.  This can be done ahead, or you can always buy pre-cut butternut squash to make meal prep even easier.

  • Peel the butternut squash. 
  • Cut the top and bottom off the squash, then cut the squash just above the round bottom portion. Stand the top and bottom portions upright on a cutting board and cut each in half from top to bottom.  
  • Scoop the seeds out of the bottom portion with a spoon.
  • Lay each piece cut side down on the cutting board and cut into 1 1/2 to 2″ chunks.

How to make this recipe

This quinoa salad recipe is extremely easy to make. There are a couple of components, which may be made in advance.

butternut squash quinoa salad process shot

Roast the butternut squash

Toss 2 cups of cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until tender and caramelized.

Cook the quinoa

Rinse the quinoa well and cook according to package instructions.  Place in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain well.

Prepare the dressing

Place all ingredients in a mason jar and seal the lid tightly.  Shake vigorously until emulsified.

Assemble the salad

Place the quinoa, baby kale, green onion, pomegranate, and pecans in a large bowl.  Toss with the desired amount of dressing, serve and enjoy!

Recipe notes

  • The butternut squash may be substituted with your favorite winter squash like delicata, kabocha, pumpkin or red kuri squash.
  • If you’re not a fan of pomegranate, you may substitute it with dried cranberries.
  • Substitute walnuts for the pecans if desired.
  • This butternut squash quinoa salad is great for meal prep!  Store in air tight containers in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • Change things up by adding feta or goat cheese!  Apples or pears would also be a great addition.
  • Purchase pre-toasted pecans for a time saver, or place pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant.
overhead shot of butternut squash quinoa salad with wooden servers

See all of my Salad Recipes for more inspiration.

More butternut squash recipes:

More quinoa recipes you’ll love:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

overhead shot of butternut squash quinoa salad with wooden servers

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is a hearty vegan quinoa salad with roasted butternut squash, pomegranate and a tangy, sweet apple cider maple dressing!
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Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed, cooked according to package instructions and drained in a colander
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped baby kale
  • 1 large green onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • apple cider vineger dressing
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

Prepare the salad:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the butternut squash on a large rimmed baking sheet, and toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender and caramelized.
  • Place the quinoa, squash, baby kale, green onion, pomegranate and pecans in a large bowl.
  • Toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing until well coated, then serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Nutrition information does not include the dressing as that information is calculated in a separate post.
  • The butternut squash may be substituted with your favorite winter squash like delicata, kabocha, pumpkin or red kuri squash.
  • If you’re not a fan of pomegranate, you may substitute it with dried cranberries.
  • Substitute walnuts for the pecans if desired.
  • This butternut squash quinoa salad is great for meal prep!  Store in air tight containers in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • Change things up by adding feta or goat cheese!  Apples or pears would also be a great addition.
  • Purchase pre-toasted pecans for a time saver, or place pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 241kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 445mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 6096IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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