Butternut squash, apples, dried cranberries, pepitas and toasted almonds add plenty of fall flavor to this harvest quinoa salad. Dress it in cider vinaigrette for a healthy and seasonal side dish!
When it comes to Thanksgiving are you more about the turkey or the side dishes? I’m definitely more of a side dish girl! I love turkey, assuming it’s not all dried out, but all those colorful, flavorful side dishes really get me excited.
I’ve been to a couple Thanksgiving dinners where the fall colors were severely lacking. Basically everything was white. White potatoes, white rolls, white gravy…you get my point, it was pretty blah.
When I make Thanksgiving dinner I’m not only thinking about the flavors of the food, but the colors as well. I want the table to be full of color! Red cranberries, orange sweet potatoes, yellow butternut squash, golden brown turkey, green Brussels sprouts or green beans.
Your eyes should be overwhelmed with the beautiful colors covering the table. This Harvest Quinoa Salad is a perfect example of a gorgeous fall colored salad that really catches your eye!
Along with having lots of color on the Thanksgiving table, I think it’s important to have enough options so that everyone will have something to enjoy. With all the diets and food allergies out there right now, sometimes it can feel overwhelming when you’re trying to come up with a menu.
I like to make sure that I have a couple vegetable side dishes, at least one grain whether it be in the form of pasta, rice or bread, the meat of course, and then a couple of gluten-free options.
Mashed potatoes are an obvious gluten-free side dish, but this year I wanted to add something else that’s a little more unexpected. Not only is this harvest quinoa salad gluten-free, but vegan as well.
The salad is loaded with all sorts of fall goodies such as protein rich quinoa, butternut squash, baby kale, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, pepitas, an apple and then it’s dressed in my favorite fall cider vinaigrette!
This side dish is healthy, filling, a little sweet, a little savory, crunch and basically everything you could want out of a salad.
- 1 cup uncooked tri-color quinoa
- 1 cup cubed and roasted butternut squash
- 1 apple, diced (I used a Gala apple)
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups baby kale or spinach, chopped
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons pepitas (raw or roasted and salted)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cider vinaigrette for dressing the salad.
- In a medium sized saucepan bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil.
- Rinse and drain the quinoa then add it to the boiling water.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and let the quinoa cook for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
- Remove the quinoa from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
- Prepare the cider vinaigrette and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the cooled quinoa, roasted butternut squash, apple, green onion, baby kale, dried cranberries, almonds and pepitas.
- Mix in the desired amount of cider vinaigrette and season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper as needed.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
If you plan to make the salad ahead of time, wait until just before serving to add in the toasted almonds so that they stay crunchy.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169 Total Fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 29g Protein: 7g