Fall Harvest Salad With Quinoa And Butternut Squash
Today I have an amazing salad recipe to share with you guys! In fact, this salad might be the only one you need this fall and winter. This fall harvest salad is filled with so many delicious autumn flavors, and textures. There’s smooth and creamy butternut squash, crisp apples to add a fresh crunch, sweet dried cranberries, and nuts and seeds to add flavorful texture. All of this is held together with kale and hearty quinoa and drizzled in a tangy vinaigrette.
There are a few really great things about this salad. The first is that it’s filling enough to be a meal in itself. Second, all of the ingredients are easily available. And third, you can swap out or modify the ingredients according to your diet, or personal preferences.
I love big salads that are fresh, filling, and grounding. This Harvest Salad might be one of my favorites!
Fall Harvest Salad
To make this fall harvest salad you’ll need:
For The Salad
2 cups chopped Kale: I like to use curly kale, but you can use any variety you like or substitute for your favorite mixed greens. Wash and dry the greens, then chop them up into bite-size pieces.
1/2 cup Quinoa: use any color quinoa for this recipe. White quinoa has a fluffier texture and red quinoa has a nuttier taste.
1 cup Water
1 small Butternut Squash: peeled, cubed, and roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt, and fresh ground pepper. If you want to save time, you can buy pre-cut butternut squash at the store.
2 small Apples: crunchy apples like Pink Lady, Fuji, or Honeycrisp are best. Chop or slice the apples into small pieces.
1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup Roasted Seeds: roasted pumpkin seeds, aka pepitas, add a healthy crunch and flavor.
1/3 cup Nuts pecans or walnuts roughly chopped.
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries: dried cranberries add sweetness and bright color. Sometimes I substitute with fresh pomegranate seeds instead.
1/3 cup Goat Cheese Crumbles: I use vegan feta cheese.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
2 ½ tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tbsp Olive Oil
3/4 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 tea Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic Clove:
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a large mixing bowl, lightly cover the chopped and cubed butternut squash in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer the butternut squash to a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until tender. After 20 minutes, flip the butternut squash so it roasts evenly.
Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for at least 30 seconds. Then add the quinoa and water to a pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Let the quinoa steam in the pot for 5-10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to cool.
Next, you want to prepare the salad dressing. Add the apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, minced garlic, salt, and fresh ground pepper to a bowl or jar and whisk together. You can add more salt and pepper if needed.
Place the washed, dried, and chopped kale into a large bowl and pour half the dressing over the top. Use your hands to gently massage the kale for a few minutes or until you feel it start to soften.
To assemble the salad, add the quinoa, apples, and roasted butternut squash to the bowl of kale. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top and toss until fully mixed. After the salad has been placed on a plate, sprinkle the nuts and seeds over the top.
Pepitas are a nutritious and yummy snack or addition to add to meals. They can be bought at the store, but are super easy to make at home. In fact, once you make them for yourself, you may never want store-bought again. If you want to make your own pepitas instead of buying them at the store, this is all you need to do.
To Make The Pepitas
In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds, 2 tea. olive oil, 1/2 tea. honey and a pinch of salt and mix it up. Arrange the seeds in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven.
If you’re making this salad in advance:
The Dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
The Quinoa can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
The Salad. If you make this salad in advance, wait until right before serving to add the apple pieces, nuts, seeds, and dressing.
Left Overs will keep for 2-3 days if stored in the refrigerator inside an airtight container.
I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do! And if so, please let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you!