This colorful and healthy fall harvest quinoa salad is packed with butternut squash, brussels sprouts, apples and cranberries. Perfect for parties!
Thank you Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post!
I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this year with my friends and family more than ever.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself lapsing into long periods of self reflection, and I’ve been thinking a lot about being a food blogger.
Some of you may know that I come from a very humble background. Before immigrating to America, my family lived in a small village in China. They weren’t exactly dirt poor, but even something like sugar, which to us seems so commonplace, was a luxury. Can you imagine that? And here I am, making a living from something that didn’t come easily for them. I am so dang grateful to be in this position, and I can’t wait to show my thanks to my family next week.
Now, I am that crazy person who craves a healthy salad during my Thanksgiving meal. Between the turkey, the mashed potatoes, my sister’s artichoke dip and Mama Lin’s fried dumplings and sticky rice, Thanksgiving dinner can become a heavy ordeal quickly. Midway through the meal, I’m desperate for the taste of greens and other bright vegetables.
Today, I’m excited to partner with Bob’s Red Mill today to bring you a simple quinoa salad filled with my favorite fall fruits and vegetables. I particularly love their organic tri-color quinoa because it gives an extra pop of color to my dishes.
If you know any brussels sprouts skeptics, this salad is a great dish to get them to warm up to the vegetable. The brussels sprouts are thinly sliced, so their flavor won’t be so intense so as to put people off.
This fall harvest salad is truly a celebration of all the sweet and savory flavors of fall. Hope you enjoy it!
MASTERING MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES
- Flavoring the salad: I added light flavors to this quinoa salad because I wanted to be able to taste the fruits and vegetables. During one of my test batches, I added cumin into the mix, which ended up overpowering EVERYTHING. My suggestion: feel free to add whatever herbs and spices you want to the salad, but keep a fairly light hand.
- Preparing the butternut squash: Try to chop the butternut squash into small-ish pieces (about 1/4 to 1/2-inch chunks). They will cook a lot faster that way. Plus, nobody wants a massive chunk of butternut squash in their salad. Also, I used to make the mistake of over-salting my butternut squash. The tiniest pinch of salt will make a big difference, so don’t make the same mistake I did!
- Sautéing the brussels sprouts: I found that when I sautéed the brussels sprouts a little longer, its flavors became more intense. Depending on how you like your sprouts, this could be a good or bad thing. Just make note of it!
KITCHEN TIP: HOW TO PEEL & CUT BUTTERNUT SQUASH
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes by leaving a comment or sending me a message! Or take a photo of the food and tag me on Instagram so that I can give you a fist bump! Seeing your creations makes my day!Print
Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
- 1 1/4 cups (225g) uncooked tri-color quinoa
- 2 cups (235ml) water
- 2 pounds (900g) butternut squash*
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces (225g) brussels sprouts
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 medium apple (I used a braeburn apple)
- 1/2 cup (75g) crumbled feta
- 1/3 cup (40g) dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup (10g) chopped parsley
- Add quinoa and water into a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking the quinoa until all the water has nearly evaporated. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid. Let quinoa sit for 15 to 20 minutes so the quinoa can fluff up.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Chop off both ends of the butternut squash. Peel outer skin. Split butternut squash in half by cutting it right down the middle. Remove seeds and chop squash into 1/4 to 1/2-inch chunks. Toss squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tiny pinch of salt, about 1/4 teaspoon. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for 25 to 27 minutes, until the squash is fork tender. Remove from oven.
- Trim the bottoms of the brussels sprouts. Chop them in half, and then slice them into 1/4-inch strips.
- Heat another 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Add onions and sauté them for a minute or two, until they start to soften. Add brussels sprouts and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a small pinch of salt and set aside.
- Add quinoa to a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, paprika and salt to taste.
- Slice apple into thin strips and toss with a tablespoon of lemon juice. This helps keep the apple from browning.
- Add butternut squash, onions, brussels sprouts, apple, feta, dried cranberries and parsley to the quinoa and stir everything. Adjust seasonings to your liking. If you want more tangy flavors in the salad, you can add a few tablespoons of vinegar or more lemon juice. Serve immediately.
*If you are using pre-cut butternut squash, you’ll want about 755g or 5 cups of squash.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Calorie information is for 1/8 of the recipe. Amount per serving: Calories: 294, Total Fat 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 300mg, Cholesterol: 8mg, Total Carbohydrate: 42g, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 10g, Protein 8g