Harvest Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash will impress everyone at your table. It’s full of flavor, hearty, and every bite comes with a mix of sweet, salty, and savory notes. This salad makes a great side dish, is hearty enough for a main-dish salad (with or without added chicken or another protein), and is great for holidays, too! 

Prep: 30 minutesCook: 55 minutesTotal: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Servings: 10 servings 1x


For the Salad:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, seeds and pulp removed, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (4-5 cups)
  • 1 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • Fine salt and black pepper
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 45 cups chopped curly kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 1 medium apple, cored and diced 
  • 3 celery stalks, diced (¾ cup)
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (omit for dairy-free and vegan) 
  • ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup pecans (omit for nut-free)
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds (may substitute dried cranberries or dried cherries)

For the Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

  • ½ cup avocado or olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Fine salt and black pepper


  1. Make the squash: Preheat the oven to 375℉ degrees. Add the cubed butternut squash to a baking pan and toss with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until slightly golden brown on the edges, tossing the squash halfway through the baking time. Allow the squash to cool for 15-20 minutes before adding to the salad. 
  2. Make the quinoa: In a fine mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa. Add the quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Uncover and toss with a spoon or fork. Allow quinoa to cool before adding it to the salad.
  3. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, pure maple syrup, mustard, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine and set aside. 
  4. Toast the pecans: Add the pecans to a small skillet over medium heat. Toast the pecans for 6-8 minutes or until pecans give off a nutty aroma, tossing occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from heat and place on a cutting board. Chop and set aside. 
  5. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl add the kale with a pinch of salt. Massage the kale for 1 minute. Then add the quinoa, butternut squash, apples, celery, onion, feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, and pomegranate seeds. Just before serving, add the vinaigrette, and toss gently to coat.


Several of the ingredients can be prepared the day before. To save time, we recommend making the quinoa, toasting the pecans, making the vinaigrette, and cubing the squash the day before you plan to serve this salad.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/10th of salad (3/4 cup)
  • Calories: 268
  • Fat: 18 g
  • (Sat Fat: 4 g)
  • Sodium: 184 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 15 g
  • (Fiber: 3 g
  • Sugar: 10 g)
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Cholesterol: 13 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians
Recipe By: Stacie Hassing