Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

4.97 from 81 votes

This Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is a seasonal recipe that is perfect for holiday gatherings and Thanksgiving- bursting with color & flavor

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When the weather gets colder, it’s nice to switch up your salads to include warm roasted vegetables and that’s what this Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is all about! The shelves at the grocery stores at stacked with so much squash, and roasting them in the oven until it’s bubbly and caramelized adds so much flavor and taste to any salad!

Top down shot of Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

One of the great things about this butternut squash quinoa salad is that it holds up really well the next day, unlike other salads with spinach or lettuce which might wilt. The kale will actually absorb all that moisture and won’t get soggy for at least 2-3 days.

ingredients & substitutions

  • Butternut squash: Peel, deseed and cut the squash into cubes before roasting. Be sure to check out this step by step guide for cutting butternut squash. For ease and convenience, you can buy ready cubed butternut squash from the store.
  • Oil, salt and pepper: For roasting the squash.
  • Kale: Kale is a wonderful base for salads. As well as containing lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it doesn’t wilt as quickly as other greens, so you can make this ahead of time.
  • Quinoa: The addition of quinoa helps to bulk this salad up, so you can serve it as a main or a side dish. You can leave the quinoa out or substitute with any other grains, especially if you have any leftover from another meal. Check out my guide to how to cook the perfect quinoa.
  • Pomegranate seeds: These add a burst of sweetness to the salad, and make the salad look so festive.
  • Feta cheese: This crumbled cheese adds a tangy flavor and creamy texture. Goat cheese would work great too, or try it with blue cheese for a real flavor hit.
  • For the dressing: The simple salad dressing is made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
Ingredients to make the recipe

how to make butternut squash salad

  • Cut up the butternut squash.
  • Roast it until caramelized and fork tender.
2 image collage to show the butternut squash before and after roasting
  • Whisk together the dressing.
  • Massage the kale in the dressing. Yes…with your hands!
  • Toss in the roasted butternut squash and quinoa. Serve and top with the pomegranate seeds and feta.
3 image collage showing the dressing, then the kale getting massaged and then the butternut squash and quinoa added on top

Tips for making this salad

  1. Cut the butternut squash into evenly sized cubes. This will help it to cook more evenly. Place it in a fully pre-heated oven for the best results.
  2. Massage the kale in the dressing. Kale leaves can be tough to eat, so before adding the other ingredients, massage it in the dressing to help soften it and add flavor.
  3. Try a different dressing. This dressing has a slight sweetness from the honey that works wonderfully with the flavors in this salad, but you can easily use another favorite. A creamy dressing would give it a really lovely texture and flavor.
  4. Mix up the salad ingredients. Rather than the pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries would make a great substitution, and other winter squashes can be used in place of the butternut squash.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it keep?

This butternut squash quinoa salad is a great make ahead dish, so it’s perfect for Thanksgiving. Once made, keep the salad covered and refrigerated and it will keep well for 2 to 3 days.

Can you make it vegan?

Yes! This salad is easy to make plant-based. Simply swap the honey for maple syrup in the dressing and omit the feta cheese, or use a vegan alternative.

What do you serve it with?

I can honestly eat this as a lunch by itself, but it makes for a wonderful side dish through fall and winter, and is perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Try it with:
Thanksgiving Turkey
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Green Beans with Almonds

One small bowl of butternut squash quinoa salad served with larger bowl next to it

This butternut squash quinoa salad is rich with colors, flavors and nutrition and it’s a total winner for Thanksgiving dinner. Let’s be honest, it’ll probably be the healthiest thing on the table that night, but at least you can feel good that your healthy contribution is also beautiful and amazingly delicious!

For more fall salads:

If you try this healthy-ish feel good Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

This Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is a seasonal recipe that is perfect for holiday gatherings and Thanksgiving- bursting with color & flavor
5 from 81 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad
Calories 348
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

For the Salad

  • 1 small butternut squash peeled, deseeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes or slices (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups kale destemmed and cut
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

For the Dressing

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the butternut squash onto the prepared baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on top. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread the squash into an even layer and roast until they soften and begin to caramelize, 30-35 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the salad.
  • In a large serving bowl, whisk together the salad dressing ingredients. Add the chopped kale on top of the dressing, and use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale to tenderize them.
  • Add the quinoa and cooled butternut squash on top of the kale and dressing and toss carefully to combine.
  • Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta cheese on top and serve at room temperature or allow to cool in the fridge.

Notes

Storage: Keep the salad covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 737mg, Potassium: 1071mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 26668IU, Vitamin C: 121mg, Calcium: 245mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Top down shot of Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

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Comments

  1. Served it for Thanksgiving with our own homegrown Sweet Fall Squash, gonna serve it for Christmas, too. Nutricious, delicious, and so visually appealing! It’s even better the 2nd day!

  2. This looks delicious! Is this salad gluten free? If not, any suggestions on how to make it gluten free? I want to make this for thanksgiving but have a guest who is gluten free. Thank you.

  3. I doubled the recipe and I wouldn’t double the dressing. It was way too much dressing. Other than that good flavor.

  4. Any pointers on how to incorporate cranberries instead of pomegranate? I have some from other recipes to use this week, and pomegranate is top dollar. Trying to think of how to doctor them up and put them on the salad cold.

    1. Yes! Also, this entire butternut squash quinoa salad is a great make ahead dish, so it’s perfect for Thanksgiving. Once made, keep the salad covered and refrigerated and it will keep well for 2 to 3 days.

  5. This salad sounds yummy 😋 I was wondering how long ahead should I massage the dressing with the kale before adding the rest of the ingredients. It sure my guest are fans of kale 🙁

    1. I want to use kale . Above you say that the dressing will tenderize the leaves and I assume will make then tastier 😋
      So my question is how long ahead can I mix the dressing with the kale ? Before adding the rest of the ingredients

  6. This recipe is so good (as always!!!). I didn’t have quinoa but it’s just as good as a lighter salad without the carbs!

  7. Making this for thanksgiving this year. How do you recommend making a little bit more cream dressing ? 🙏🏼

  8. This salad is sooooo yummy. I substituted sweet potatoes for the squash b/c I had it on hand. And it looked as pretty as it tasted. Loved the combination of the feta with the pomegranate.

  9. Holy moly this is delicious. I think I’m gonna make it again for Thanksgiving because it is so beautiful! I’ve kept all the ingredients separate so I can eat it throughout the week since I only cook for myself and it will last longer that way.

  10. I loved this recipe! My favorite part is that it will last for a few days. I don’t consider myself the best cook by any means but I can always find recipes that turn out great on Feel Good Foodie!

  11. Did this today with some salmon (using the same vinaigrette as the salad on the salmon) and omg 🤤😋 amazing!! Thank you!!

      1. Hands down my new favorite salad! Tastes amazing! I’m making this dish to bring to my family’s Thanksgiving get together.