A delicious mix of fall flavors, colors and textures, this roasted butternut squash quinoa salad is healthy, hearty and delicious.
There are some days when I look in the fridge and cupboards as I am trying to decide what to have for lunch and feel a bit uninspired. Then there are others whee it all seems to come together perfectly and I have everything I could want for a delicious lunch I hadn’t even thought of making. I had one of those latter days not so long ago, when this roasted butternut squash quinoa salad came into being. True, it was a bit of a throw in some of this, some of that, but all those this and thats were great together with each adding great flavor, color and all conveniently healthy, too. Plus the end result has that ‘I’m starting to feel in the mood for autumnal things but don’t quite want to let go of summer’ feel. You know the one I mean.
Apart from roasting the squash, which takes a little time though there’s no effort (you just pop it in the oven and leave it), this is also a really quick salad to make, and it can be made quick for when you make it. The roasting can be done a day or two ahead of time when you have the oven on for something else or better still, just roast a bit more if you have some for dinner to have leftover for this (as I had). Quinoa can also be made ahead and kept refrigerated to use in various dishes like this and many others. Everything else is really quick to chop and throw together.
The beetroot gives the quinoa a lovely purple color. Grating it up raw but finely means it has a bit of a crunch but is still easy to eat. In case you are wondering about the tomato color, I happened to have lovely green-red flecked heirloom tomato, hence it’s not the typical red, but any variety would do. The seeds on top give a nice crunch, and the cranberries that touch of sweetness, which compliments the squash. Avocado and arugula/rocket are just good in pretty much anything so I probably hardly need to say that they add variety in both texture and flavor. The dressing is a light but tasty mix of olive oil, lime and honey – a perfect accompaniment to all the lovely flavors in the salad.
This is a delicious, hearty and colorful butternut squash quinoa salad, perfect for early fall. There’s softness, crunch, and it fills you up nicely. It would make for a great lunchbox meal, not just one to enjoy at home, since it’s not one that needs to look perfect and doesn’t go too soggy. It’s also chock full of lots of healthy goodness, but you don’t feel like you’re eating a stack of leaves, there’s so much more going on. What more could you need for lunchtime? A fork to gobble it down, and that’s about it.
Roasted butternut squash quinoa salad
To roast the squash
- 9 oz butternut squash 250g, peeled and de-seeded weight
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil approx
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice approx, or a little more
For the rest of the salad
- 1/2 cup quinoa uncooked, or 1 cup cooked
- 1 avocado
- 1 beetroot medium, cooked
- 2 handfuls arugula rocket
- 1 tomato medium-large
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp dried cranberries
- Dice the squash into bite-size pieces, toss in a little olive oil and allspice and roast approx 40min at 375F/190C until starting to brown and tender to knifepoint. Leave to cool - this can be done ahead of time and the squash stored in the fridge for a day or two.
- If starting with uncooked quinoa, cook according to instructions, usually with around 1 cup of water for 1/2cup uncooked quinoa, bring to boil and simmer around 10min until water absorbed and grains 'bloom' little curls. This, too, can be done ahead and the quinoa stored in the fridge a couple days.
- When ready to make up salad, roughly chop the avocado and beetroot into bite-size pieces, slice the arugula and roughly dice the tomato.
- Whisk together the oil, lemon juice and honey until well combined. Mix all of the other chopped ingredients and quinoa, pour over the dressing and mix through.
- Top with the pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and serve.
Try these other fall-flavored salads:
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