This healthy Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad recipe is autumn in a bowl! It combines roasted butternut squash, fresh kale, tender nuts, and dried cranberries. Then it's tossed in the most delicious rosemary maple balsamic dressing! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
Celebrate autumn with this delicious Fall Quinoa Salad made with cozy, seasonal ingredients!
It combines roasted butternut squash, fresh kale, sweet dried cranberries, and crunchy, tender nuts. Then it's tossed with a delicious & flavorful maple-balsamic dressing with fresh rosemary. (So good!)
This vibrant, healthy salad makes a great holiday side dish, or simply enjoyment at home. I truly hope you love it as much as I do!
Ingredients for Fall Quinoa Salad
For this recipe you'll toss together in a large bowl:
- Butternut squash: We'll use 4 cups fresh butternut squash for this recipe. I typically need about a 3 lb. squash to yield 4 cups cubed. For convenience, you can purchase pre-cut squash in the produce section of your grocery store. (You'll need about one pound of pre-cubed butternut.) Then we'll roast them in the oven to tender, buttery goodness before adding to the salad.
- White quinoa
- Fresh kale: I use lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale) but you can use curly kale if desired.
- Green onions
- Pecans or walnuts: Either one works great! You can use raw, roasted, or lightly toasted.
- Dried cranberries: Cranberries are naturally very tart, and dried cranberries are usually sweetened with added sugar. So be sure to look for unsweetened/all natural, or naturally sweetened if desired. (Some dried cranberries are sweetened with apple juice rather than refined sugar.) If you're completely oil-free, then look for a brand without oil as well.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Pure maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
- Garlic powder: Or you can substitute one to two fresh garlic cloves (minced) for a stronger flavor.
- Fresh rosemary: This adds beautiful flavor and woodsy aromatics. It really makes the dressing pop!
- Salt: I use fine grain salt for this recipe. You can also add black pepper to taste.
Vegetables: Add other veggies to the mixture like roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, roasted beets, spinach, etc.
Vegan cheese & fruit: Add dairy-free crumbled feta cheese or pomegranate seeds. Pumpkin seeds could also be a nice addition.
Other grains: Instead of quinoa, try with cooked brown rice, wild rice blend, farro, bulgur, etc. (Lentils are a great addition as well.)
Olive oil: I prepare my dressings oil-free, but you can whisk in a tablespoon of good quality extra-virgin olive oil if you wish. (Or also toss a small amount with the butternut squash before roasting.)
Either serve this dish right away while it's warm, at room temperature, or chilled. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge. I find it keeps for about 3-4 days.
More Cozy Fall Favorites
- Pumpkin Curry Soup
- Creamy Butternut Squash Wild Rice Soup
- Vegan Pumpkin Waffles
- Vegetable Chowder
- Pumpkin Spice Granola
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad (Vegan!)
- 4 cups butternut squash, cubed*
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 3 cups lacinato kale (about 1/2 bunch)
- 3-4 green onions
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries**
For the maple-balsamic dressing:
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves minced)
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Roast squash: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a baking pan with parchment paper and place squash cubes spread out in a single layer. (Add salt & pepper if desired.) Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Cook quinoa: Add 1 cup quinoa (rinsed and drained) to a small saucepan with 1.5 cups water or vegetable broth. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until fluffy.
- Make dressing: In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Prepare kale: Thinly chop kale, large stems removed. Place in a large mixing bowl and gently massage to tenderize.
- Prepare salad: Slice green onions and roughly chop pecans (or walnuts). Add to bowl. Then add cranberries, cooked quinoa, and roasted squash.
- Dress & serve: Pour dressing over top and gently toss to combine. Garnish with more cranberries or nuts if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later. (It's great served warm, room temperature, or chilled.)
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
If you're enjoying this vegan fall harvest quinoa salad recipe, also check out: