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Delicious & healthy Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad that is surprisingly quick & easy to put together. Simple & Beautiful. Perfect side dish for the holidays.
Are you looking for a great holiday side dish recipe? How about this delicious, healthy Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad that is surprisingly quick and easy to put together? It makes enough for 8-10 serving sizes depending on your appetite. You can also make several days ahead of time and refrigerate it to be ready for Thanksgiving or any holiday. Just add the chopped baby kale and the balsamic vinaigrette before serving. I prefer to eat it warm, so I would warm it up first before adding the final touches.
This holiday side dish is absolutely fantastic and you will get rave reviews of how delicious and original it is. Roasted butternut squash with caramelized edges gets tossed with cooked tri-colored quinoa, chopped baby kale (or you can use massaged kale with olive oil, lemon, and salt), red onion, cranberries, and pecans. The salad is topped with a delicate and delicious balsamic vinaigrette. Simple. Beautiful. Packed with flavor and color!
The balsamic honey dijon balsamic vinaigrette is what makes all the difference and gives this Harvest Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad it’s amazing flavors. The sweet tartness of the vinaigrette intensifies the flavors of the butternut squash, quinoa, kale, and onions.
It is also naturally gluten-free and vegan. Perfect for your clean holiday table.
I have made this side dish several times so far and it’s always a big hit with family and friends. If you want to make a new and different sparkling side dish for the holidays this year that will wow your guest, you should make this one. I hope you and your guests enjoy this Harvest Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad!
How To Make Harvest Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
6 cups butternut squash (1 medium butternut squash), peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 cups baby kale, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with olive oil and season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and rosemary. Spread butternut squash in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned.
While the butternut squash is roasting, rinse quinoa and place in a medium pan with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered until liquid is absorbed – about 16-18 minutes.
To assemble the salad, combine the roasted butternut squash, cooked quinoa, chopped red onion, chopped kale, cranberries, chopped pecans in a large bowl. Add the balsamic vinaigrette and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm or cold.
More Thanksgiving Recipes:
- Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing
- Cornbread recipe (Gluten-Free & Grain-Free)
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Green Beans Recipe
- Roasted Honey Glazed Carrots
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Best Mashed Potatoes
Harvest Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
- 6 cups butternut squash, 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups baby kale, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with olive oil and season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and rosemary. Spread butternut squash in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned.
- While the butternut squash is roasting, rinse quinoa and place in a medium pan with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered until liquid is absorbed, about 16-18 minutes.
- To assemble the salad, combine the roasted butternut squash, cooked quinoa, red onion, kale, cranberries,chopped pecans in a large bowl. Add the balsamic vinaigrette and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm or cold.
- Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl until combined.
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What do do with leftovers?
You can serve leftovers as a lunch bowl with roast chicken or fish on top.
This salad is not only delicious and simple to put together, it is a beautiful presentation.
Wanting to make this tomorrow! Do you think arugula would be an ok alternative to the kale!?!
Hi Lisa, yes, you can use arugula instead if you prefer the taste of arugula better (arugula can have a strong flavor). Coarsely chopped baby spinach is also a good alternative.
Love this! Great for a gathering, potluck, and leftovers. Trader Joe’s carries an organic tri-color sprouted quinoa in an 8 oz package, perfect for this recipe. I added the amount of water on the package since the recipe doesn’t say how much to add. I’ve subbed chopped baby spinach for kale, maple syrup for honey, used a fig balsamic, and sprinkled pomegranate seeds on top just before serving. It’s nice that you can serve it warm, chilled, or at room temperature.
Hi, how far in advance can you make this dish? Would the day before work? The dish was delicious, turned out perfect. Didn’t have any leftovers so not sure how it would be on the 2nd day 🙂 Thank you!
Hi Angela, you can make it a day in advance but i would add the kale & the balsamic vinaigrette just before serving. Hope you enjoy it! Happy Thanksgiving!
Can I use sweet potatoes instead of the squash?
yes, absolutely! Hope you enjoy it!
This sounds perfect!
The salad looks incredibly delicious and healthy!
This is the perfect salad for Thanksgiving!!
OMG I loved this dish! I doubled the quinoa and dressing. I like it cold.
I’m dairy ,soy and MSG sensitive. So this recipe is somehing I can eat. A friend made it for me. I made it myself and have shared it with other friends. They love it also.
That’s awesome! So glad you liked it! 🙂 It’s also great for Thanksgiving and I am making it for Thursday!
This looks so good! Gonna make it tomorrow for a pot luck! One question- do you think walnuts would be okay instead of pecans? Thanks!
Yes, absolutely! You can substitute the pecans with walnuts. Hope you enjoy it and have a great time!