Harvest salads full of seasonal vegetables are one of my favorite things. The combination of veggies with a creamy dressings is always a good idea, in my opinion.
Watch How to Make This Recipe
This Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad is filled with hearty roasted butternut squash, perfectly cooked quinoa, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, salty feta, and more. Then, to tie everything together, there’s a creamy yet tangy apple cider vinaigrette. It’s like salad heaven.
Not only is this salad incredibly tasty, it’s also easy to customize with whatever veggies and fruit you may have on hand at the time. It’s also a great option for serving at holiday meals (this would be perfect for Thanksgiving!) or potlucks during the fall and winter season.
Cooked Quinoa: you can use whatever quinoa you prefer in this salad. I usually choose to go with traditional but trim-color also looks beautiful.
Roasted Butternut Squash: tender and hearty butternut squash is the star of the show in this salad. The edges of the squash get perfectly browned and the squash develops some delicious flavor once roasted.
Brussels sprouts: thinly shredded Brussels sprouts add some extra texture and crunch to the salad. When the sprouts are thinly shredded there is no need to cook them.
Apple: honey crisp apple adds sweet, juicy, and slightly tart crunch to the salad. Feel free to use pink lady or green apple if you prefer!
Feta: who doesn’t love feta cheese? this crumbly and salty cheese works so well with the roasted butternut squash and crisp apple.
Cranberries: dried cranberries add a bit of sweetness to the salad and work well with all of the other salty and savory flavors in the mix.
Pumpkin Seeds: these are a delicious way to add a bit of crunch to the salad.
Green Onion: I prefer to use green onion in this salad as it has a bit of milder flavor.
Recipe Swaps and Additions
Quinoa – if you do not like quinoa you can easily swap it for another grain like whole wheat orzo or even rice.
Nuts and Seeds – feel free to get creative and swap the pumpkin seeds for chopped walnuts, pecans, or even almonds.
Veggies – this salad is very easy to customize with whatever vegetables you may have on hand. You can substitute the butternut squash for sweet potatoes or add in kale, spinach, or whatever else sounds good.
Dried Fruit – dried cranberries are always my go-to in this salad but I also love the addition of golden raisins, dried cherries, or even dried blueberries.
Cheese – you can easily swap the feta cheese for blue cheese if you like or, to keep things dairy free, just leave it out!
How to Cook Quinoa for Salad
If you have never made quinoa before, it is incredibly easy!
Here’s the general overview:
First: Add the quinoa, salt, olive oil, and water to a medium pot. Bring the quinoa to a boil, cover the pot with a lid, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Next: Simmer the quinoa for 15 minutes and then remove from the heat. Let the quinoa sit, off the heat, for 10 minutes and then uncover.
Last: Fluff with a fork and serve.
The Most Delicious Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Olive oil – I enjoy the flavor of olive oil in vinaigrettes but you could also use avocado oil if you prefer.
Apple cider vinegar – this helps to give the vinaigrette a delicious tang.
Honey – this sweetens the dressing a bit to help balance out the acidity. If you prefer you can use maple syrup as a sweetener instead.
Garlic – try to use fresh garlic if you can for the best flavor.
Dijon Mustard – I like to use whole grain Dijon mustard for this recipe.
Lemon Juice – as with the garlic, fresh lemon juice is the best choice.
How to Make This Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad
Step One: First, make the apple cider vinaigrette. Add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice to a blender. Blend everything together until smooth and creamy.
Step Two: Next, add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Drizzle the desired amount of the dressing over the salad. I like to start with a smaller amount as you can always add more dressing later.
Step Three: Toss the salad together lightly until everything is well combined and evenly distributed.
Step Four: Give the salad a taste and add a bit of extra dressing or salt and pepper to taste before serving.
How Long Does This Quinoa Salad Last In the Fridge?
You can store this quinoa salad in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three days.
More Thanksgiving Recipes to Serve
Here are few more of our reader favorite Thanksgiving recipes to add your menu this holiday season:
You can find all of our healthy and delicious Thanksgiving recipes to plan your menu, here!
I hope you give this Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad a try! It’s a hearty and delicious way to enjoy seasonal vegetables.
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