Fall Quinoa Salad

Posted on September 5, 2014
Hey Everyone! So this is my new favorite salad. And I hope it will be your new favorite salad too! I love all the comfort food that fall brings with it, but sometimes it’s nice to lighten things up a little bit, and this salad is the best of both worlds… delicious fall flavor, just a little lighter and healthier! I love good salads that don’t leave me feeling hungry and that are filled with fresh ingredients and different flavors and textures. This one is filled with fresh spinach, tangy dried cranberries, crunchy nuts, deliciously sweet roasted butternut squash and hearty quinoa… the perfect fall salad!
Fresh spinach leaves
Cooked quinoa
Roasted butternut squash
Chopped walnuts or pecans
Dried Cranberries
Optional: Shredded chicken breast
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper
 1. First, prepare your butternut squash (I used a pretty small one). Peel and halve it lengthwise, then scoop out all the seeds and cut it into about 1 inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss it with about a teaspoon or so of olive oil and season it well with salt and pepper. Then, spread it out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 deg F for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until it’s nice and soft.
2. In the meantime, prepare the rest of your salad. Cook your quinoa according to the directions on the package (I use about 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa per salad portion), it should take about 15 minutes or so to cook, so you can get it done while the butternut squash is roasting. I like to use room temperature quinoa for the salad so I let it cool once it’s cooked. (If you are not a quinoa fan, you could definitely substitute couscous here!)
3. To make your vinaigrette, whisk together equal parts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season well with salt and pepper, then taste to make sure it suits your taste! I like to add a little bit of honey for a little extra sweetness and thickness, which works so well with the sweet roasted butternut squash!
4. Now all you need to do is assemble your salad! So add the spinach leaves, quinoa, dried cranberries, chopped nuts and the warm roasted butternut squash and drizzle it all with your vinaigrette! And if you want to make your salad extra hearty, add in some shredded chicken.
For more quinoa recipes, check these out:
Left: Quinoa Breakfast Bowl (Recipe HERE), Middle: Cheesy Quinoa and Broccoli Patties (Recipe HERE), Right: Fresh Corn and Kale Quinoa Patties (Recipe HERE)
Happy Cooking, Everyone!
I will be linking to THESE wonderful blogs!

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  • Anita Stafford September 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I love how colorful this salad looks and I’m sure I would love the the taste too. Butternut squash is always good, and it sounds great in this recipe!

    • Maria September 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks so much, I think I’m going to make some again today! Hope you are having a good weekend 🙂

  • Zainab Storms September 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    It’s the season of squash again!! I love this salad and all the flavors you blended!

    • Maria September 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks so much, it’s my new favorite salad, I just LOVE how sweet butternut squash when you roast it!!! Hope you’re having a good weekend 🙂

  • Lady of the Manor September 7, 2014 at 7:25 am

    My friend is coming over for a quilting day and was looking for a recipe. This is perfect!!! I even have a butternut squash from my garden. Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Maria September 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Hope you enjoy this salad too! And hope you have fun quilting with your friend! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Winnie September 8, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Beautiful delicious looking salad!
    We love quinoa and I’d eat this salad anytime of year

    • Maria September 8, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thanks so much, I love quinoa too… so many different ways to use it and flavor it!

  • Natalia Lynn September 8, 2014 at 3:04 am

    This looks so good! I’m pinning for later for sure!

    • Maria September 8, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thanks so much!

  • Joy Bee September 8, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Yum. This sounds healthy and delicious. I’ve made a pilaf with quinoa, craisins, and pecans before and it was great…I bet this is too.

    • Maria September 8, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks so much, Joy! Your pilaf sounds wonderful! Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’re having a good week so far! Happy (almost) Fall! 🙂

  • Blair Lonergan September 8, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Hi, Maria! This salad looks amazing, and so perfect for fall. What a great combination of flavors! Can’t wait to make it for myself. 🙂 Pinned and tweeted!

    • Maria September 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks so much, Blair! Hope you enjoy the salad too! 🙂

  • Alexis AKA MOM September 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Wow that looks so refreshing! I know I would love it.

    • Maria September 10, 2014 at 8:23 am

      It really is refreshing, and so hearty too! Hope you enjoy it too! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Hope you are having a good week!

  • marty (A Stroll Thru Life) September 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Oh yum, this looks delicious. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me.

    • Maria September 10, 2014 at 8:23 am

      Thanks so much, Marty!

  • Miz Helen September 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

    This will make a great side salad for any fall meal. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

    • Maria September 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Thank you, Miz Helen, it’s the perfect fall side! Hope you have a great rest of your week! 🙂

  • Shannon Hawk September 16, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    This looks delicious Maria! I am going to make this for lunch this week! Thanks so much for linking up at The Project Parade!

    • Maria September 17, 2014 at 9:05 am

      Thanks so much, Shannon! Hope you enjoy it too! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • Miz Helen September 19, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week! Enjoy your weekend and your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

    • Maria September 20, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Thank you so much, Miz Helen! Glad you liked the recipe 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Happy Fall! 🙂

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