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Quinoa Harvest Salad in a black bowl with apples and butternut squash in the background.
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5 from 12 votes

Quinoa Harvest Salad

Quinoa Harvest Salad with roasted butternut squash and apples tossed in red quinoa, spinach, dried cranberries, easy roasted pepitas with a spiced warming autumn dressing.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 10
Calories: 188kcal
Author: HWC Magazine


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa cooked per instructions (can use red, white, black or mixed)
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil (divided - 2 tablespoons for roasting butternut squash and apples and 2 tablespoons for making the dressing)
  • 1.5 cups butternut squash chopped into cubes (½ butternut squash)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric dried ground (divided – ½ teaspoon for roasting butternut squash and apples and ½ teaspoon for making the dressing)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon dried ground (divided – ½ teaspoon for roasting butternut squash and apples and ½ teaspoon for making the dressing)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin dried ground (divided – ½ teaspoon for roasting butternut squash and apples and ½ teaspoon for making the dressing)
  • 2 large apples chopped (gala, fuji, granny smith or any firm apple works well)
  • 1.5 cups spinach chopped
  • cup dried cranberries
  • cup easy roasted pepitas
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
  • Peel and chop butternut squash and apples. Keep butternut and apples separate as you will add these items separately at different times in the baking process. Drizzle a little of the lemon juice on the apples to prevent oxidations.
  • Toss butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ½teaspoon of turmeric, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Place prepared butternut squash on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Place in oven. Set timer for 15 minutes.
  • Prepare 1 cup of quinoa per package instructions. Make sure you wash your quinoa super well and until the water runs clear BEFORE cooking.Very important step! Set aside and keep warm. Will yield approximately 3 cups of cooked quinoa. If you have already cooked quinoa, reheat in the microwave before adding to the salad.
  • Next, add the chopped apples in with the butternut squash. Toss and layer flat and continue baking for about 5 - 8 minutes more or until the butternut squash is fork tender. Remove from oven.
  • In the meantime, make your spiced autumn salad dressing. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of turmeric, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  • Prepare the easy roasted pepitas. You can do this in the oven or take 2 minutes and toast them in a pan on the stove top. Salt to taste. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the cooked warm quinoa, roasted warm butternut squash and apples, chopped spinach, dried cranberries and prepared spiced autumn salad dressing and toss. If serving immediately, toss in the roasted pepitas. If making in advance, hold the easy roasted pepitas until serving so they stay nice and crunchy.
  • Enjoy!



  • Quinoa Harvest Salad can be made in advance and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.
How to Chop and Cube a Butternut Squash Safely
  • Using your sharpest knife, cut your butternut squash in half, lengthwise. We used a clever. Did you know that a dull knife is twice is likely to cause injury than a sharp knife? Only use your hands-on top of the knife. Keep your hands off the actual squash. Sometimes, it is helpful to put the edge of the knife into the squash. Then, bang the squash down on to the cutting board to cut all the way through.
  • Use a spoon and scoop and discard the seeds.
  • We use a peeler to peel the butternut squash.
  • Place the flat cut side of the butternut squash on the board. Cut the squash into slices and then into long slices. Finally, cut into cubes. Please check out our video in the recipe card for a demonstration.
  • If the thought of chopping up a fresh butternut squash is too much for you, you can purchase butternut squash already pre-chopped in the fresh section of your grocery or use frozen butternut cubes for this recipe.
How to Cook Quinoa
One very important thing to note is that quinoa has a natural coating of saponin. This a chemical that helps repel microbes while the seed of quinoa is in its growing stage and it must be washed off BEFORE cooking or it can cause gastrointestinal distress.
Step 1 – wash the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer really well until it runs clear. We use agitation and rub the seeds between our fingers under the water for at least 5 minutes. Quinoa seeds are really small. We use a rice strainer for this, and it works quite well. (There is nothing more frustrating than using a regular strainer and then having to manually pluck out the grains of quinoa out with a knife.) Been there- Done That!
Step 2 – read your package directions as these are golden rule. We used Simple Truth Organic Red Quinoa and cooked according to the package directions. The water to grain ratio is 2 cups water to 1 cup dried quinoa.
Step 3 – Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.  This quinoa recipe yielded 3 cups of cooked quinoa. When the quinoa is cooked perfectly, it will be tender, and you can see these tiny spirals separating and curling around the quinoa seeds.
Recipe Exchanges and Substitutions
If you do not like quinoa, this recipe is also delicious with brown rice.
We used easy roasted pepitas (AKA pumpkin seeds) for this fall harvest quinoa salad. However, feel free to use pecans, almonds or sunflower seeds.
Butternut squash is delicious but can exchange with acorn squash, kabocha squash or even pumpkin.
If you do not have dried cranberries, this recipe is also delicious with raisins.
Spinach can be replaced with kale or other greens of choice.
We used gala apples for this recipe but can use any firm apple such as fuji, granny smith or apple of choice.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 287mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2678IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2mg