Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish – Fall Quinoa Salad

If you imagine what fall tastes like, it would be this salad. Butternut squash, cranberries, kale, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, and a maple balsamic vinaigrette. Yep. Fall in a bowl.

Fall Quinoa Salad

I first made this salad to take to a fall themed potluck dinner. Then I made it for my sister, so she wouldn’t have to eat peanut butter for a week straight. I would actually love to live off peanut butter for a week. Peanut butter for every meal?! That would be my ideal diet. Buuuut being the older, more responsible sister, I thought she needed a little more variety.

My next plan is to whip up a batch to take to my family Thanksgiving. I always try to bring a healthy side dish to place between the sweet potato casserole and gravy boat – gotta have options!

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad (PRINT ME!)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable/chicken broth
  • 1 medium-large butternut squash
  • kale (7-8 leaves)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • salt/pepper

Preheat your oven to 375.

Peel and dice your butternut squash. Make sure all the pieces are roughly the same size. In a medium sized bowl toss squash, 1-2 Tbsp olive oil (depending on the size), 1 tsp cinnamon, and salt/pepper until coated. Arrange the pieces on a baking sheet, and roast for 20-25 minutes. Flip the squash halfway through the cooking time so all pieces get nice and brown.

IMG_5900Cook quinoa according to package directions, but use broth instead of water. Check out my post on how to cook quinoa perfectly everytime.

Heat a saute’ pan to medium, and add a little olive oil. Tear your kale leaves into smaller pieces and add to pan. Saute’ until the leaves begin to wilt.

In a mason jar combine oil, vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and grated garlic clove. Add a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Shake it like a polaroid picture and set to the side.

In a large bowl combine quinoa, roasted squash, and kale leaves – let cool. Add cranberries, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese. Drizzle the Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette over your salad and toss to combine.

Fall Quinoa Salad

Now the really great thing about this is you can add as much of certain ingredients as you’d like! The last batch I made, I used a HUGE butternut squash and an entire bunch of kale. As far as I’m concerned there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to veggies.

Eat it with chicken, eat it over greens, eat it cold or eat it warm – serve it any way you like.

My personal favorite is warm (so the goat cheese gets gooey and melty) over a bed of greens with sliced chicken (my lunch today actually).

Serve it alongside your holiday bird, roasted veggies and fresh cranberry sauce, and you’ve got a healthy, delicious Thanksgiving plate!

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