This Butternut Kale Quinoa Salad is delicious, healthy and wholesome. Roasted spiced butternut squash and warm cooked quinoa is tossed with kale, slightly wilting it, before tossing with toasted pepitas, dried cranberries, golden raisins and cider dijon dressing. Serves 6 to 8.
This salad is Fall in a bowl.
Ever since Mother Nature flipped the switch from summer to fall, I’m making soups and roasting allthethings. This warm kale salad was one of many on my list to make once the temperatures dropped a little. And I was quickly reminded why I love this salad so much.
The roasted butternut bring sweet and some spice (and I don’t mean spicy heat!) from smoked paprika to cumin to nutmeg. You can count on the kale and quinoa to bulk up the salad while adding vitamins and nutrients, protein and fiber. And let’s not forget the pan toasted pepitas! Besides toasty flavor, they give this salad much needed crunch while the golden raisins and dried cranberries add great texture and sweetness.
So bring on the sweaters and scarves, hot apple cider and all things squash and roasted (and braised)!
To Make This Butternut Squash Kale Quinoa Salad You Will Need:
for the dressing:
- kosher salt – Enhances the flavors of this dressing.
- freshly ground black pepper – This will add some subtle bite and flavor.
- garlic – Adds delicious punchy flavor. A small shallot (minced) can also be added or substituted.
- apple cider vinegar – Adds tartness, tang and a slight sweetness.
- maple syrup – For sweetness. Honey may also be substituted.
- dijon mustard – Helps with emulsion and also gives the dressing a nice tanginess.
- extra virgin olive oil – Lends richness and flavor.
for the salad:
- butternut squash – A Y-peeler really helps make peeling a butternut squash easier.
- avocado oil – Or use any neutral oil made for high temperature cooking/roasting. (like grapeseed or sunflower oil)
- dark brown sugar – Caramelizes once roasted and brings out the natural sweetness of the roasted butternut squash.
- smoked paprika – For a touch of smokiness.
- coriander (ground) – Lends a citrusy flavor with a slight sweetness and subtle hint of earthiness.
- cumin (ground) – Lends earthiness and warmth, with an edge of citrus.
- kosher salt – This will draw out flavor and season the dish.
- freshly ground black pepper – For added bite and flavor.
- nutmeg – Warm, aromatic with subtle hints of clove.
- cayenne – For a very subtle touch of heat.
In a glass jar or container with a tight-fitting lid, measure and add; 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 clove garlic grated (or add/substitute a small minced shallot), 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard and 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey and 6 tablespoons olive oil.
Shake well to combine, making sure the maple syrup or honey is thoroughly incorporated.
Toast The Pepitas:
Add 1/3 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) into a skillet and heat over medium to medium-low. Shake or stir the pan until the pepitas are golden brown in spots and smell nutty. You might hear them popping a bit, that’s normal.
Make the Quinoa:
Place 1 cup quinoa in a mesh sieve and rinse well under cool water.
Follow the package directions for preparing. I add 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 2 cups water. Heat on high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Once boiling, cover and turn off the heat, leaving the covered pot still on the burner. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
Once cooked fluff with a fork or spatula.
Roast the butternut squash:
Preheat your oven to 400°.
Place 4 cups diced butternut squash onto a rimmed metal baking sheet. Drizzle with 1-1/2 tablespoons avocado oil, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 3/4 ground cumin, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
Toss well to combine, spread evenly and roast on the middle rack of your preheated oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through roasting.
Once roasted, the butternut squash should be tender and the edges caramelized.
Build The Salad:
Strip the leaves from the stems of 1 bunch lacinato kale, rinse and spin or pat dry, then coarsely chop. You’ll need about 2 cups.
Transfer the chopped kale to a bowl. Once the quinoa is cooked and the squash is roasted, add them to the bowl with the kale.
Lightly toss to combine.
Measure and add 1/3 cup roasted (unsalted) pumpkin seeds. Lastly add 1/4 of cup each of golden raisins and dried cranberries.
Drizzle with desired amount of dressing.
Season with a generous pinch (or two) of kosher salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper before tossing to combine.
Serve warm or at room temperature and prepare to fall in love!
What’s your favorite salad?
Enjoy! And if you give this Warm Butternut Kale Quinoa Salad recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!
Warm Butternut Squash Kale Quinoa Salad
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, grated (see notes)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup, or honey
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups butternut squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, stripped off stems, chopped, rinsed and patted or spun dry
- 1/3 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), toasted
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
MAKE THE DRESSING:
- In a glass jar combine the salt, pepper, garlic, vinegar, mustard, honey and olive oil. Secure the lid and shake well.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- Add the pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) into a skillet and heat over medium to medium-low. Shake or stir the pan until the pepitas are golden brown in spots and smell nutty. You might hear them popping a bit, that’s normal.
- Place 1 cup quinoa in a mesh sieve and rinse well under cool water. Follow package directions to prepare. This is how I make mine: Transfer rinsed quinoa to a saucepan and add 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 2 cups water. Heat on high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Once boiling, cover and turn off the heat, leaving the covered pot still on the burner. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat your oven to 400°.
- Toss the cubed butternut squash in the oil, sugar, smoked paprika, salt, coriander, cumin, black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Spread out evenly onto a rimmed sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. No need to turn or toss the squash, just rotate the pan halfway through.
- In a large salad bowl add the chopped kale, cooked (warm) quinoa, warm roasted butternut squash, toasted pepitas, dried cranberries and raisins.
- Drizzle with desired amount dressing or more to taste. Serve warm.
- Season with a pinch or two of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
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this kale salad sounds wonderful!
I always make the weirdest salads – whatever I have on hand. But my favorite would be kale based with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower, with charred corn, some sort of grain, really great quality parm, and some sunflower seeds with a homemade dijon vinaigrette!
I hardly ever make salads, I should start! But, I love getting salads from restaurants. I think my favorite is a BBQ chicken salad with corn.
I love israeli salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, dill, lemon)
I can’t wait to try this salad! Looks delish!
I like making salads that are solely kale, feta, and almonds.
I would have to say chickpeas, croutons, corn gouda cheese and pecans
italian dressing pasta salad with tomatos cucumbers and green peppers
I like kale with quinoa and almonds.
I love quinoa and this recipe sounds delicious – will be trying it soon!
My favorite salad is apples, grapes, bananas, pecans, and a sweet/sour mayo dressing.
Love apples, raisins, toasted pecans!
Ah, so many! Kale, jalapeno and orange with goat cheese. Or craisins, cheese, apple, nuts and crunchy salad stuff. Or ginger and cabbage and carrots and radishes and peanut dressing…
In my salads, I love a little bit of everything! Greens, Nuts, Veggies…
Anything with roasted veggies, quinoa and a tahini dressing
I love my salads really crunchy, lots of veggies, cheese, sunflower seeds, yum!
I love spinach salads with cranberries, feta and chicken!
I love field green salads with pears, blue cheese and spiced pecans.
This salad will be made this week. It looks delicious. My husband will eat this and likely he will love it, but I no doubt will have to allure him by serving it with a side of meat! 🙂
Thank you for the recipe and the chance at the giveaway.
Oh… and my favorite salads usually are made with leftovers in the fridge. I’m often amazed by how delicious they are.
This looks delicious and perfect for the fall! I am really into roasted beets, arugula, goat cheese, and balsamic salads. Yum-O!
I don’t have any one fav, but I like to use different vegetables and fruits and nuts along with nice lettuces, sometimes cheese and other regular ingredients. I love using nice oils like walnut, and sometimes a touch of roasted hazelnut oil, and a good vinegar. Sometimes I like to add grains like cooked barley, spelt, kasha.
I love spring greens, shredded beets and walnuts!
I love green salads with shrimp and/or fake crab!!!
I adore a spinach salad with arugula and almonds (I toast them a bit)
This salad looks wonderful! I make the homemade condensed soups all the time and freeze them. Thank you for all your wonderful scratch recipes.
Anything with feta, feta and more feta!!
I love swiss chard with a citrusy dressing and sunflower seeds 🙂
Feta, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes in spinach mix.
Love a Nicoise Salad with lots of olives, and red peppers.
Today I had romaine with avocado, grapes, turkey, and Berry Apple Cider Vinegar dressing. It was good!
Florida strawberries on a fluffy green topped with toasted pecans, a little pepper then drizzled with balsalmic vinegar and olive oil (Fair Trade of course!)
I love Caesar salad with homemade croutons!
Apple walnut salad is my favorite!
I love a nicoise! Crisp green beans, anchovies, tuna and boiled eggs? I’m in.
I made this tonight! So good! It was very forgiving too, since I had to substitute some ingredients. Too lazy to get to the store!! I used toasted pine nuts instead of pumpkin seeds, and currants instead of the the raisins and cranberries. The squash and kale were straight from the garden. What a great recipe! I am really looking forward to your cookbook.
Fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and peppper.
I recently had a wonderful salad with pecans, cranberries, and mandarin oranges, it was delicious!!!
Love anything with poppy seed dressing!
this salad is the prettiest form of autumn! and squash + hearty greens is truly one of my favorite combinations. thanks for spreading the fair trade word, we’re all in this together!
I love any kind of salad, but love spinach with warm bacon dressing. yummy.
fall is here!!!
My favorite salad has blue cheese, walnuts and strawberries.
I love almonds and feta in my salad along with come dried cranberries!!! 🙂
I don’t have a favorite salad combination, I’ll try any kind but the only thing I’m picky about is the greens. I like something crunchy like brussel sprouts as the base
Hello! We tried your recipe this evening and it was amazing. Thank you for sharing!
Ceasar Salad using Romaine lettuce
Cobb salad- mostly for the avocado and blue cheese!
One of my favorite salad’s is to make is tabouli with quinoa but I don’t add mint just parsley and I add some chopped carrots.
I love quinoa salad with avocado, garden fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and vinegar & oil.
I love my salads with a grain like kamut, warm roasted squash and beets, and a dressing of avocado and lemon juice. so delicious and simple!
This looks amazing! Would it be good refrigerated and heated for later?
my favorite salad this time of year is kale with toasted pecans, dried cranberries and diced honey crisp apple with white balsamic and olive oil dressing. Yum!
This looks great! I enjoy salads that have a combination of crunch and sweet and nutty. (sunflower seeds and raisins are always a simple and yummy addition to a green salad.)
My favorite salad combination is roast vegetables on top of grilled romaine hearts.
Your ingredients in the body of the post for dressing does not include oil. 🙂 The dressing is very good, thank you.
Why does the list of ingredients specify 2 cups of quinoa but the directions say to cook 1 cup of it? Are you indicating that 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will expand to 2 cups during the cooking process?
Hi Robin! Thank you for kindly pointing that out. The recipe calls for 1 cup (uncooked) quinoa. Sorry for the confusion! Enjoy!
Made this a couple of times. Its so good, nice warm buzz from the cayenne and punchy garlic. The dressing tastes amazing. I took to work yesterday for a bring and share, everyone loved it. I’m in UK so used cavolo nero which I think is the same as lacinato kale.