This roasted acorn squash salad is your new favorite Fall recipe. It has a wonderful blend of roasted veggies, fluffy quinoa, crumbly queso fresco and roasted pumpkin seeds, all tossed in a delicious honey-lemon dressing and sprinkled with pomegranate. It’s the perfect harvest salad that you can enjoy warm or cold, as a simple weeknight dinner, or as a festive holiday side dish.
why I love this Roasted Acorn Squash quinoa Salad
I love me a roasted veggie salad, and while there’s usually a handful of steps to make one, I still feel they’re pretty easy to make. With the proper planning, everything comes together around the same time and fairly seamlessly.
I love this salad because it’s a great make ahead roasted vegetable salad and the leftovers make great office lunches. You can even just roast the vegetables, and cook the quinoa the night before, and then assemble the salad the next day if it’s easier for you. This make ahead situation is particularly helpful if you’re making this salad for an event. It can save you a great deal of time and hassle!
This protein packed meatless dish is as delicious as it’s versatile. You can eat it by itself, add your favorite greens to it, and even eat it with your favorite meat as a side dish.
You can also customize this delicious salad as you please. You can use different seeds or nuts, different fruits, and roast different veggies to make a different kind of salad every time! Check out my tips and ingredient variation recommendations below.
Tips on how to make a great quinoa harvest salad
Pick 2 veggies to roast – I always pick a pumpkin, squash or sweet potato as my first option, and an aromatic veggie as the second option, such as red onion, green onions, or leeks.
Cook the quinoa while the vegetables are roasting – This will be the best use of your time. The veggies are going to roast around 40-45 minutes. That’s plenty of time to cook and cool the quinoa.
Use cheese – I love using queso fresco because it has a mild tangy taste, but if you want something more bold, go for crumbly goat cheese, or feta.
Add texture – Nuts and seeds are my favorite way to add texture to a salad with roasted veggies. I love using pumpkin seeds, but when I don’t have any, I use toasted pecans, walnuts, sliced almonds… Seriously, the sky is the limit!
Add something sweet – in this salad, my something sweet are the pomegranate seeds. I love them so much because they also add beautiful color and even a little texture as well. If you don’t have any on hand, you can also use dried fruit, or other fresh seasonal fruits like apple slices, or grapes.
Add greens – I didn’t add any to this salad, but you can even add some arugula, kale, raw spinach or any other green you like to diversify, or to add volume to the salad. This is a great trick especially when you’re planning on feeding a crowd.
Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables FAQ:
Typically, you should be able to keep quinoa salad in the fridge for about 3-5 days.
Great news! Quinoa salad is so great that you can eat it warm or cold – up to you.
Absolutely! You can prepare the roasted veggies the night before and keep them refrigerated (see instructions below). In fact, this is a great idea as it will save you some time, especially if you’re preparing this salad for an event. And to make it even easier, if you roasted veggies for a salad such as this one, you don’t even need to reheat them the next day!
After you take the roasted veggies out of the oven, let them cool to room temperature. When they’ve cooled completely, add them to an air tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
More Fall Salad Recipes you’ll love
These fall desserts would be great after this quinoa harvest salad
Roasted Acorn Squash Salad
- 1 whole acorn squash
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 whole pomegranate
- 1 cup of dry quinoa or 2 cups of cooked quinoa
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh lemon thyme leaves
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of queso fresco crumbled
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Wrap the onion in foil.
- Wash, then cut the squash in half. Clean it up by removing the seeds, then slice.
- Drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread them on a baking sheet.
- Put the squash and the onion wrapped in foin in the oven to bake. Bake the squash for about 25 mins, then flip each slice over and bake on the other side for 15-20 minutes. When the squash is cooked, also remove the onion.
- While the veggies are roasting, cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package.
- Meanwhile, deseed the pomegranate, and set aside.
- Then, make the dressing: Add the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, thyme and salt and pepper to a medium bowl. Whisk everything and set aside.
- When the veggies are roasted, slice the onions, and cut the squash in cubes.
- Then, add the cooked (and cooled) quinoa to a large bowl. To that, add the roasted veggies, the pomegranate seeds, some more thyme, and half of the cheese.
- Season with the honey dressing and give it a little toss.
- Serve and top with more cheese and the toasted pumpkin seeds.