Squash Quinoa Salad

This squash salad is the perfect winter meal prep recipe when you’re craving some leafy greens and roasted veggies. Crumbled goat cheese adds a bit of tang along with a burst of pomegranate seeds and bit of crunch from roasted pumpkin seeds.

Finish it off with a simple, homemade maple mustard vinaigrette and you’ve got lunches made for the week in just 30 minutes!

Bowl of squash quinoa salad with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese

How do I make squash quinoa salad?

You’ll start be tossing the squash with oil and spices, then giving it a quick roast in the oven.

You’ll wilt your spinach in the freshly cooked quinoa and then it’s time to assemble!

A hearty bed of quinoa and spinach is topped with roasted squash, crumbled goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Then it’s all drizzled with a hearty, homemade maple mustard vinaigrette!

Photo collage of acorn squash being thinly sliced

Can I use another grain instead of quinoa?

You sure can! I love to use some kind of hearty grain in my salads just to bulk them up and keep me full for longer. I also like the added texture that they give. Barley, bulgur, freekah, brown rice or couscous are great options to use if quinoa isn’t your thing.

What does quinoa taste like?

Quinoa has a subtle, nutty flavor that I usually compare to the flavor of brown rice. The texture is fluffy but with a bit of a crunch at the same time.

If you haven’t tried quinoa before, this would be a great recipe to try it out in!

Collage photo of quinoa being mixed with spinach and a pomegranate peeled open

Can I eat the skin of the acorn squash?

Yes! Hooray for another vegetable that you don’t have to peel to enjoy, right?!

Because you’ll be slicing the squash thinly, the roasting process will soften it so that it’s perfectly edible!

If you’d like to spend an extra 20 minutes peeling this oddly shaped vegetable, be my guest, but it’s definitely not necessary!

Can I use another kind of squash instead of acorn?

Sure! I like to acorn squash for this recipe because of the beautiful presentation and the ease of not having to peel it. But cubed (peeled) butternut squash would be great also. I could even see a stringy spaghetti squash used in this dish too.

Bowl of squash quinoa salad with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese

Can I make this squash quinoa salad ahead of time?

Yes! As with most of my recipes, this dish is great for meal prep.

I usually portion it out into my containers at the beginning of the week and then wait to drizzle the dressing until just before eating.

You can also serve this salad hot or cold. If I’m in a hurry I’ll eat it straight from the fridge. Or if I’m in 30 seconds less of a hurry, I’ll pop it in the microwave quick so everything gets nice and warm and the goat cheese starts to melt.

Bowl of squash quinoa salad with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese
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Squash Quinoa Salad


  • Author: Midwest Foodie
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Main Dish – Salad
  • Method: Oven/Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Leafy greens and roasted veggies with tangy goat cheese a fruity burst of pomegranate seeds. Drizzled with a map mustard vinaigrette.


Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 small acorn squash, sliced into 1/8″ slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • seeds from 1 large pomegranate
  • 8 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place sliced squash onto baking sheet, slightly overlapping the edges. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss squash slices to coat evenly, then arrange in nearly a single layer, overlapping slightly.
  4. Roast squash for 20 minutes.
  5. While the squash is roasting, cook quinoa according to package directions.
  6. Stir spinach right into the warm quinoa so that it wilts.
  7. Combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.
  8. To assemble, layer a bed of quinoa and spinach with a few slices of squash, then divide the goat cheese, pomegranate and pumpkin seeds evenly between each portion.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

Notes

If enjoying this salad at a later date, wait to drizzle the dressing until just before serving

Keywords: easy, quick, simple, healthy, meal prep, acorn squash, butternut, family, dinner, recipe, weeknight, meal, fall, winter

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