Autumn quinoa salad with butternut squash, dried cranberries, pecans and baby kale, tossed with an orange-cinnamon dressing, it’s simple, healthy and delicious!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (204 c). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, a silpat or lightly grease with oil.
Quinoa: In a medium pot, bring the quinoa, water and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer over a gentle boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover and let rest 10 – 15 minutes, fluff with fork.
Roasted Butternut Squash: Place the butternut squash and onion the prepared sheet pan, drizzle with oil, using your hands or utensils, toss to coat. Spread across sheet pan in a single layer, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and mineral salt. Place on rack in center of the oven and roast for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Will be done when butternut squash is just fork tender, not mushy.
When done, remove from oven and sprinkle dried cranberries overtop, let cool a few minutes. Cranberries will soften and warm.
Toast Pecans: Heat a small pan over medium-low, add pecans and stir often until fragrant for 2 – 3 minutes, careful not to let them burn. This step is optional, pecans are great un-toasted too.
Dressing: In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and cinnamon.
Assemble: In a large mixing/serving bowl, add the quinoa, butternut squash mixture, kale, pecans, and drizzle with the dressing, toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve: Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. When in season, it pairs great with pomegranate seeds!
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days.
When peeling the butternut squash, a vegetable peeler works great! Here’s a quick guide on How To Peel & Cut Butternut Squash.
This can easily be made a day ahead, stored in the refrigerator and served chilled, served at room temperature or warmed. It’s holds up extremely well, looking just as fresh as if you’ve just made it!