This quinoa harvest salad is perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish. Enjoy the nutritional benefits of this superfood combination, with the sweet and savory flavors of cranberries, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and butternut squash.
As I was making this recipe, I was thinking back to when I first cooked quinoa.
I was a sophomore in college. I was just beginning to transform my lifestyle from unwholesome to healthy, and I was doing my research on how to improve my diet. I always pronounced it like ‘kee-know-uh’, and was so surprised when I finally learned it’s actual pronunciation. Nevertheless, I was so excited to have found this superfood, especially because I enjoyed it so much. A few years later, here I am sharing my own recipes with the ingredient.
This recipe is probably my favorite side dish that I’ve ever made. Seriously.
The savory roasted butternut squash melts in your mouth like a mouthful of dissolving cotton candy at the state fair. I love the combination of sweet dried cranberries with tangy goat cheese and crunchy, salty roasted pumpkin seeds – it took the dish to another level and was complimented perfectly with the quinoa and drizzle of olive oil.
Incorporating or replacing this as a side to your Thankgiving feast makes for a nutritious addition to our otherwise, customary side of buttery mashed potatoes or green bean casserole *cringe*.
Here’s what you’re packing with the two shining stars:
- Butternut squash
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Protein (quinoa is a complete protein)
Did I mention this recipe is ridiculously easy? I would call it semi-homemade but I hate that description. The only cooking you’re doing is for the butternut squash and quinoa.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the cubed squash atop a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to make sure each cube is covered with this trifecta.
- Set to bake for 30 minutes.
- Place the quinoa and water in a rice cooker and set to cook. If you don't have a rice cooker, you can use a small sauce pan with the same quinoa to water ratio. Set the stove to medium-high heat and cover the mixture. Bring it to a boil then lower the heat for about 20 minutes.
- When squash is finished baking, and quinoa is finished cooking, combine the two in a large bowl. Add toppings, sprinkle with about a tsp of salt and pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
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Join the conversation:
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
If you could choose only one Fall vegetable for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Dried fruit: love it or hate it?