My inspiration for this recipe came from thinking about the Summer Quinoa Salad I made back in August. I thought it would be fun to change up the ingredients to match some of the delicious flavors of fall. I decided to make this salad with butternut squash, arugula, dried cranberries, almonds, and a maple vinaigrette. I also mixed red and white quinoa to add more seasonal colors and to make the salad a little more exciting.
Once you mix all the ingredients together, the salad tastes just like autumn in a bowl. The creamy butternut squash is balanced by the tart cranberries, while the slightly sweet dressing contrasts with the peppery arugula. Plus, the nutty flavor of the quinoa pairs well with the slivered almonds (walnuts or pecans would work great, too). This salad would taste wonderful on the side of some chicken apple sausage, adding yet another yummy seasonal flavor to the meal.
This colorful salad is also full of healthy nutrients! The quinoa base is full of protein, with 6-7 g per serving (1/4 cup uncooked quinoa). Butternut squash is rich with Vitamins A and C, and is also a good source of potassium. The arugula is an excellent source of Vitamin K, and also provides Vitamins A and C. Even the cranberries and almonds bring some health benefits to the salad because cranberries provide antioxidants, while the almonds are a good source of calcium and iron.
I hope this recipe for a nutritious celebration of the fall inspires you to take advantage of all the delicious produce that is available right now. Enjoy!
Fall Quinoa Salad
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups quinoa, rinsed well
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 3 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup chives, roughly chopped
- 2 handfuls each of dried cranberries and slivered almonds
- Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by roasting the butternut squash. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut off each end of the squash and then peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half and remove seeds. Cut the squash into 1 inch cubes. Toss together with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes until tender. In the meantime, bring quinoa, 2 cups of water, and smashed whole garlic clove to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender (about 15 minutes). Remove the garlic clove and chop into small pieces. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper. Add in arugula, chives, cranberries, and almonds and toss together. Gently fold in the quinoa. Serve hot or cold.