a close up top view of butternut squash and quinoa salad

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5 from 2 reviews

Autumn quinoa salad with roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, toasted pecans and baby kale tossed with an orange-cinnamon dressing is simple, healthy and delicious!


Units Scale
  • 1 cup (200 g) dried quinoa (I used tri-color)
  • 1 3/4 (394 ml) cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs (.90 kg) or 6 cups), peeled, seeded and diced, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) raw pecans
  • 2 handfuls of baby kale (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup (56 ml) orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • mineral salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • a handful of pomegranates, when in season (optional)


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: Keep 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!

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: For roasting butternut squash, I love using a Silpat or these parchment liners for lining this rimmed baking sheet (affiliate links).