This quinoa, kale, and butternut squash salad is my absolute favorite Fall salad!
Not only does it taste good, but it will also make your coworkers crazy jealous. BONUS!
This salad is definitely something you could bring to a holiday meal with friends or family this season. It is so colorful, filling, and easy to put together.
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How to make this butternut squash salad perfect for you or your guests:
There are a few main elements in this recipe that you can change: the grain, the legume, the green, the toppings, and the squash. Of course, you can always change the flavor too.
Hate or can’t find kale? Use spinach or arugula.
Don’t want to use chickpeas? Skip them altogether or go for a different legume of your choice. Chopped, grilled or roasted chicken would go great in this salad, too, if you’re willing to do the extra work (or pick up a rotisserie chicken!)
Don’t like or can’t find butternut squash? Any other squash variety will do: delicata, pumpkin, acorn, winter etc. I wouldn’t use spaghetti squash in this recipe, but it could work.
Not into quinoa? Farro, freekeh, wild rice, and couscous would make awesome substitutes – and they’re all easy to cook!
Don’t like dried cranberries or pepitas? Go for golden raisins, olives, goat cheese, or similar rich toppings. Walnuts would be good too. I choose dried cranberries and pepitas because they’re easy to find, usually cheap and last awhile in the fridge.
A note about butternut squash:
You’re going to have extra squash. Have no fear! It keeps well in the fridge for over week (I had uncooked squash in my fridge for 10 days and it was fine) and you can do A LOT with it. Also, be careful when peeling and prepping your squash! Some people heat it up for a few minutes in the oven or a minute or two in the microwave before peeling and cutting it, but I find that it doesn’t make much of a difference. It’s going to take up more of your prep time than usual — but it’s worth it.
What type of dressing to use for this salad:
You can use a store-bought dressing that you already have in the fridge for this salad, or easily whip one up! These are the ones I would go for:
- Maple Dijon Dressing
- Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Honey Apple Vinaigrette
- Creamy Avocado Dressing
- Lemon Vinaigrette
You can also always keep it simple with just a bit of olive oil and lemon juice! This salad packs enough flavor on it’s own.
If you’re serving this quinoa salad to guests…
This meal is great at room temp or warm with freshly cooked butternut squash. It’s totally up to you and the flexibility makes it an incredibly delicious and easy meal to serve at your holiday gatherings this year.
If you’re using this butternut squash salad for meal prep:
This quinoa salad will last for 4-5 days in the fridge and is not freezer friendly.
You can eat it cold or reheat it in the microwave or on the stove. Happy prepping!
Don’t forget to try our other delicious salad recipes!
- Fattoush Salad With Mint Dressing
- Mandarin Orange Salad With Salmon And Sesame Dressing
- Buffalo Cauliflower Salads
- Meal Prep Strawberry Salad With Chicken
- Chicken Waldorf Salad With Quinoa (No Mayo!)
- Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad (Homemade Dressing!)
- The “Everyday” Kale Salad With Homemade Dressing
Classic Quinoa, Kale And Butternut Squash Salad
- 1/2 butternut squash peeled and chopped into cubes
- 2 TBSP olive oil divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 15 oz canned chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cup kale
- or spinach chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 1 cup feta cheese
- crumbled sub blue cheese or goat cheese
For the honey balsamic dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBSP honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C and prepare a large sheet pan with a silicone mat, parchment paper or cooking spray. Set aside.
- Roast the squash: Spread the squash onto the sheet pan, and drizzle with 1/2 of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well and bake for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa according to the directions on the package.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the chickpeas, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss well, then add to the sheet pan with the squash or a separate sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes, until squash is fork tender and chickpeas are slightly crisp (squash will cook for 40 minutes total). Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- While the squash and chickpeas cool, marinate/massage the kale: In the large mixing bowl, add the kale and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper, then use your hands to massage the oil into the kale. This will make the kale bright green and tender!
- In a bowl or jar, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Either whisk or shake vigorously until the vinaigrette is fully combined.
- Store the kale, quinoa and cooked butternut squash & chickpeas separately until ready to eat for buffet style salads, or, divide the kale, quinoa, squash and chickpeas between meal prep containers. Before eating, top with pepitas, dried cranberries and feta. Enjoy!