Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Harvest Salad

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Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad — Easy and packed with big fall flavors!! Maple syrup, squash, and cranberries were made for each other! Love it when healthy tastes so good!!

butternut squash quinoa salad with cranberries in a yellow dish

Fall Quinoa Salad Recipe

It’s that time of year for squash. I’m a big squash fan, and an even bigger fan when it’s roasted with maple syrup and butter.

This savory yet slightly sweet butternut squash quinoa salad is easy, healthy, packed with big fall-inspired flavors, and there’s so much texture.

The buttery maple syrup coats the tender squash, which is a nice contrast to the chewier quinoa. There’s lightly caramelized sweet yellow onion to boost the overall flavor, chewy tart-and-sweet dried cranberries, sliced almonds for a satisfying crunch, and parsley to add color and a mild herbiness.

The salad is great right away but it’s a perfect make-ahead recipe because the flavors develop over time and I think it tastes better a day or two after making it. It’s perfect for work or school lunches.

butternut squash quinoa salad with cranberries in a yellow dish

What’s in Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad? 

To make this easy quinoa salad, you’ll need: 

  • Butternut squash
  • Maple syrup
  • Unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Quinoa 
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Water
  • Dried cranberries
  • Sliced almonds 
  • Flat-leaf parsley 
  • Lemon juice (optional) 

How to Make Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

Roast the butternut squash until tender. While that roasts, sauté the onion until softened. Stir in the dry quinoa, salt, pepper, ACV, and water. Cook until done. 

Then, mix together the cooked quinoa and roasted butternut squash, followed by the remaining ingredients. 

Can I Use Another Type of Squash? 

I don’t see why not! I’m sure this fall quinoa salad with cranberries would pair well with almost any variety of roasted squash. 

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad — Easy and packed with big fall flavors!! Maple syrup, squash, and cranberries were made for each other! Love it when healthy tastes so good!!

Tips for Making a Fall Quinoa Salad

I used tri-colored quinoa and while I don’t think it tastes much different than white quinoa, I like the added color but use your favorite.

Note that this recipe calls for pure maple syrup, NOT pancake syrup. They’re two different things. 

This easy quinoa salad can be served warm or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavors develop over time and tastes better a day or two after making it.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad — Easy and packed with big fall flavors!! Maple syrup, squash, and cranberries were made for each other! Love it when healthy tastes so good!!

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4.75 from 8 votes

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Harvest Salad

By Averie Sunshine
Easy and packed with big fall flavors!! Maple syrup, squash, and cranberries were made for each other! Love it when healthy tastes so good!!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients  

Salad

  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, I use orange-scented dried cranberries
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice, optional and to taste

Quinoa

  • one extra-large, about 2 heaping cups diced sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup quinoa, I use tri-colored
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.
  • Add the butternut squash and evenly drizzle with maple syrup, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and toss to combine.
  • Bake for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender. Stir twice while squash bakes to ensure even cooking. Baking time will range based on exact size of squash pieces and natural variance in squash as some have more moisture and release more juice while baking.
  • While the squash bakes, start sautéing the onions.
  • To a large skillet or saucepan, add the olive oil, onions, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened and are lightly caramelized, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the quinoa and stir it into the onions and let it toast for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the water, apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, reduce the heat to low, cover pan, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
  • Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and add the dried cranberries, almonds, parsley, squash and all the cooking liquid, and stir to combine.
  • Taste, check for seasoning balance, and if necessary to brighten up the flavor, add lemon juice to taste. I added it and it doesn’t make the dish taste lemony but the acid balances the flavor. If necessary add more salt, pepper, or possibly a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat.

Notes

Dish can be served warm and immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavors develop over time and tastes better a day or two after making it, and can either be served warm or cold.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 453kcal, Carbohydrates: 79g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 2mg, Sodium: 562mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 46g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Quinoa Salad Recipes:

ALL OF MY QUINOA RECIPES! 

Lemon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Almond Quinoa Salad — Fast, easy, and fresh! Bright flavors and loads of texture! This clean-eating salad keeps you full and satisfied! Healthy never tasted so good!

Lemon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Almond Quinoa Salad - Fast, easy, and fresh! Bright flavors and loads of texture! This clean-eating salad keeps you full and satisfied! Healthy never tasted so good!! (No mayo and great for outdoor events or lunch boxes!)

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Quinoa Salad  (GF) – Trying to keep meals healthier and lighter? Make this easy, refreshing and satisfying salad!

Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Quinoa Salad (GF) - Trying to keep meals healthier & lighter? Make this easy, refreshing & satisfying salad!

Favorite Greens Quinoa Salad — I combined some of my favorite green vegetables and herbs in this fast, easy, light, and fresh salad! 

Twelve Superfood Salad— This superfood salad is packed with 12 superfoods! This is a great clean out the fridge meal and is easily customized to suit whatever you need to use up.

Garden Fresh Quinoa Salad — If you’re looking for a light, refreshing salad that makes use of fresh, summery ingredients this is the one.

Quinoa, Cherry, and Goat Cheese Salad – Healthy, EASY, and loaded with juicy cherries, tangy goat cheese, snap peas, mint, and more!! The PERFECT light yet satisfying salad with so many great flavors!!

Spinach And Artichoke Quinoa Salad – All the flavors of classic spinach and artichoke dip are in this HEALTHY salad!! The only thing that’s missing is tons of fat and calories! FAST, EASY, naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and tastes DELISH!!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. I can’t wait to make this dish! I have used prepared quinoa so often to make a number of dishes that I must ask, just to be sure, the quinoa in this recipe is not cooked in advance but the 1 1/2 cups water serve to cook it as I normally would? Thank you!

  2. I am making this right now. When I roasted the squash, there was tons of liquid on the pan that never cooked off. Was there supposed to be so much liquid? And I felt like the maple syrup flavor wasn’t too strong, as most of it was still on the pan. Other than that I am sure it is all going to be great!

    1. In Step 5 I wrote “Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and add the dried cranberries, almonds, parsley, squash and all the cooking liquid, and stir to combine.”

      So yes, I added all the cooking liquid because there was quite a bit on the pan and that helps give more maple flavor, too. Plus it ensures the final dish isn’t dry. It’s amazing in a day or two in the fridge how much quinoa (and almonds and dried cranberries) will just suck out moisture like crazy. Enjoy!

  3. So packed with squash, I love it! And roasting it with maple syrup and butter is genius – a sweet twist that I will need to try when it is autumn here. Love how you added almonds and parsley too for extra flavour – just a gorgeous salad! <3

  4. Well this salad just look so perfect to me!  And I agree, I love making salads like this ahead of time, the yumminess factor increases a lot!

  5. I haven’t worked with quinoa very much, but this recipe is definitely making me want to! Looks and sounds amazing, tons of great flavors. Thanks for sharing Averie :)

  6. I may be one of the crazy few that prefers red over regular quinoa! I love that it has a slightly crunchier (for lack of a better word) texture… I feel like I’m actually eating something! That and it’s so pretty while it cooks. And makes photos prettier for food bloggers too! ;)

    1. I think it has a slightly crunchier texture too but I thought I Was just imagining things! ha!

      And yes to the color being better for photography. Nothing worse than white rice or white quinoa to shoot!

    2. No, you aren’t! Although if you’re imagining things, then I must be also… ;) So true about quinoa and rice — and plain ol’ vanilla ice cream too!

  7. These flavors….quintessential fall!  I was eating a TON of butternut this summer – I went through a big one in about 3 days, making “fries” and dipping them in maple syrup.  I think I may have overdone it.  ;)

    1. I overdid kabocha a few years ago as I’m sure you remember all our squash talks! Hadn’t had any in ages and this hit the spot! I would totally love your fries and with a maple syrup dip! I know you’re not a huge quinoa fan but this was EXCELLENT!

  8. Mmm, looks tasty and healthy. I was just wandering what to have for dinner, so I’m going to make your salad. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  9. This salad looks insanely good.  If I can control myself to not eat all the squash off the pan as it comes out of the oven I will definitely make it.  I’m weak when it comes to roasted vegs.

    1. If I can control myself to not eat all the squash off the pan as it comes out of the oven <--- I had that exact same problem! I had to tell myself to stop so I had enough for the recipe :)

  10. This looks lovely Averie! My first thought when I saw the photo was healthful comfort food (with so many of my favorite ingredients). I love squash season and must make this over the weekend.

    1. Paula you’re going to love it! Healthful comfort food, totally spot on! All the flavors in this were just….so good. I loved this salad so much!

    2. I’ve been anxious to make this and it did not disappoint!! Incredibly good–tangy, nutty and yes, slightly sweet. Roasting the squash in butter and maple syrup is now my new favorite way to prepare it. So glad to have leftovers for Jon. He loved it too!

      1. Glad you have a new favorite way to roast your squash! I loved this salad and made it a few times and just couldn’t get enough of it! Glad you and Jon both enjoyed it, too!

  11. We’re butternut squash salad twins today! I love fall just because of all the winter squash – I can’t get enough! I’m loving that you added quinoa here to make it healthy AND hearty. Salad win!

    1. I just saw your salad! The apples, the spiralized noodles!! Love that! I have never spiralized butternut squash but now I want to!