Quinoa Butternut Squash Salad

quinoa butternut squash salad

Every time I make this quinoa butternut squash salad, I love the recipe more and more.

I originally created this recipe just before Thanksgiving years ago, but now I make it as soon as we start getting butternut squash from my mom’s garden!

When it comes to planning our Thanksgiving meal, there are often so many “must-haves” with the turkey, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, etc. that adding anything new or different doesn’t seem necessary. But for a long time, I struggled with getting enough vegetables on my plate, so I don’t feel overwhelmed by all the food and can really enjoy myself.

When there are so many tasty options, however, I find people skip over the veggies. Unless they’re coated in some sauce or topped with marshmallows of course. Hopefully, we can change all that, with recipes like this quinoa butternut squash salad.

The mustard dressing is the same one I’ve used in a few recipes, so you’ll love how versatile it is. This salad can be made up to a day ahead of time to save on the hectic nature in the kitchen as well.

quinoa butternut squash salad in bowl with golden yellow napkin

Quinoa Butternut Squash Salad

I’m usually all about creating recipes with few ingredients. As a self-proclaimed veggie lover, I love letting the flavors of fresh produce be front and center. And using fall fruits and vegetables right now means the recipe is guaranteed to be delicious!

This quinoa butternut squash recipe seems to have a lot of ingredients, but it’s actually pretty straightforward and super delicious because of its simplicity.

I got the idea for the salad at a quick lunch stop on our trip to St. Louis. They had a fall salad with roasted butternut squash and dried cranberries.

I always love whole grains in salad as an easy way to add some heartiness. In the case of quinoa, it’s good protein too. I have absolutely made this salad without the quinoa too, so it isn’t so filling!

I’ve been enjoying finely chopped kale in salads over spinach and spring mix recently as well (this whole grain mustard vinaigrette really makes it easy).

Because the roasted squash is softer in consistency, the crunchiness of the kale really is the perfect compliment. And since I’m all about variety of consistencies to make the perfect salad topping combinations, it’s just perfect all around.

It’s the perfect starter, side dish, or even an entree (especially with some extra protein added). And if you want to know a secret, I threw this mixture into some beaten eggs and baked a frittata one time. It was one of the best breakfast dishes we’ve ever had!

quinoa butternut squash salad - top down

What does squash pair well with?

Squash is actually a fruit and naturally on the sweeter side (especially in this scrumptious roasted cinnamon sugar squash setup – DROOL!). Because of that, squash pairs well with medium to bold flavors.

We love squash with any kind of meat. Fish is a bit bland to pair with squash, I feel, but it wouldn’t be terrible. And squash with anything with some kick is also a great idea.

These healthy chicken parmesan roll ups are a go to with this salad. This smoked sausage skillet with veggies is also a yummy option (inspired by this roasted butternut squash & sausage pasta dinner that we love).

Butternut Squash Alternatives

If you don’t have butternut squash or can’t it eat (my husband is in this group), you could easily do any other hearty winter squash (acorn, kabocha, delicata, pumpkin). I wouldn’t recommend spaghetti squash, only because it’ll break apart easy and it won’t have the same effect.

You could also try roasted sweet potatoes or carrots in lieu of the squash. It’d be tasty!

More Salad Recipes

Love simple but scrumptious salads? Try this warm lentil salad, swiss chard with ginger (a great side dish), bulgur salad with cranberries, and Avocado + Bean salad

quinoa butternut squash salad
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5 from 10 votes


This salad recipe is the epitome of fall for me. I’ve long loved roasted squash and potatoes on salad. Adding crunchy kale and quinoa (for some protein) was just what my salad was missing, however. It’s a winner and on repeat in our home!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: salad, side dishes, thanksgiving, vegetables, vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 222kcal
Author: Luci Petlack


  • 3-4 cups kale chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash*
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2-4 ounces light feta OR goat cheese crumbled
  • dressing
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ lemon juiced (approx. 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon honey dijon mustard**
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • teaspoon ground ginger


  • Combine salad ingredients in large bowl.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour half of dressing into salad. Mix thoroughly. Add remaining salad dressing in small batches until desired flavor.
  • *How to Roast Squash: skin and cut squash into 1-inch cubes. Coat with 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon ginger. Roast for 25-30 minutes at 400°F until tender.
  • **Honey dijon will have a sweeter and more subtle flavor. Deli mustard is best for mustard lovers.


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Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5870IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 2mg

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