If you’ve been looking for a great side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner, then look no further! This Roasted Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is packed with the delicious and nutritious flavors of fall. Earthy quinoa, kale, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, fennel, and of course- butternut squash, are all tossed together with a tangy maple vinaigrette dressing. Each bite is perfectly crunchy and full of wholesome, fresh, and seasonal ingredients.
I’ve been making a variation of this dish for several years, ever since the beginning of my quinoa addiction. To say that our family eats several pounds of quinoa every week is not an understatement! I love quinoa, and not just for it’s status as a superfood, but also because it’s so versatile. It can easily replace rice, couscous, or other carbs in a variety of meals. I’ve used quinoa in just about every way imaginable from spicy Mexican dishes, to savory Italian meals, and now in this from-the-garden inspired salad. I’m looking forward to the upcoming holiday meals that our family will share together. Thanksgiving is only a month away and I can’t wait to enjoy a delicious (and mostly Paleo) meal with some of my favorite people.
Have I mentioned that my parents have been gluten free and Paleo for over a year now? Last Thanksgiving was our first official “Paleo Thanksgiving”. Although I was skeptical at first, I can honestly say that it was the BEST holiday meal we’ve ever had! That’s also because my mom is an amazing cook who masterfully transformed Thanksgiving staples into healthy but delicious dishes. Now, you should know that I am not strictly Paleo. I focus on eating healthy, seasonal, organic ingredients and I opt for gluten free as often as possible. That said, I recognize that those on a strict Paleo diet do not eat quinoa. However, it is acceptable to those on a moderate Paleo diet, which is where I tend to fall. As far as I’m concerned, the health benefits of quinoa outweigh the cons, and I’m going to continue eating it! If you’re looking for something to serve with your turkey this holiday season, I hope you give this Roasted Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette a try. It’s definitely making an appearance at our Thanksgiving table… hopefully followed by some delicious Paleo pumpkin pie (hey mom- let’s make that happen)!
Roasted Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
16 oz organic quinoa, prepared according to package directions
1/3 cup dried organic cranberries
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup fresh fennel, sliced into thin strips
1-2 cups organic kale, sliced into small pieces
For the Roasted Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash, chopped into bite-sized cubes
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp each- nutmeg, salt, pepper
2 tsp organic Grade B maple syrup
For the Maple Vinaigrette
4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp organic Grade B maple syrup (or more if you prefer a sweeter flavor)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 TBS organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400*.
- Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and maple syrup. Spread evenly into a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. Let the squash cool slightly before adding it to the salad.
- Next, in a large bowl, gently toss together the quinoa, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, fennel, kale, and butternut squash.
- Serve either warm or chilled, drizzled with the maple vinaigrette.
- To make the Maple Vinaigrette
- Whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and apple cider vinegar.