NOTE: November 2014’s post has been Updated with new pictures–writing and recipe remains the same.
Years ago I attended a HUGE Thanksgiving Pot-Luck that featured dozens of dishes–I know, lucky girl.
The one that stuck out to me though was a wild rice salad that had a pumpkin dressing and slightly sweet and savory at the same time.
I fell in love with it. Pumpkin vinaigrette–genius!!
Over the years, I have modified it into my creation to fit my preferences and to amp it up a bit.
I started with the base. Rice is great, but quinoa? Higher in protein and fiber and so incredibly filling and satisfying–my mind was made up,quinoa was the new base.
And then I added roasted butternut squash to the original recipe. Because it is just perfectly fall and tasty.
I also had to add the squash to replace the celery I omitted from the original recipe–not really a big fan of celery in my salads. I think it was originally there to add crunch, but I added crunch with toasted pecans and at times will even thow in roasted pumpkin seeds. Because again, perfectly fall and perfectly delicious.
This Harvest Quinoa Salad is a quintessential fall dish–cranberries, butternut squash, pecans, and pumpkin….What a perfect way to celebrate the fall harvest. Hence the name, Harvest Quinoa Salad–-I am SO clever, aren’t I?!
And in my mind since so many fall flavors are highlighted, it seems like the perfect dish to add to your Thanksgiving rotation. Oh and for all of you who are gluten-free or who are entertaining gluten-free guests, this salad perfectly fits the bill!
And even though I think it is a perfect dish to serve at Thanksgiving–I ate this salad everyday for lunch this past week because I could not get enough of it. I never told anyone it was in the fridge. I just didn’t want to share. Call me selfish, it’s true–at least this past week. And with my chocolate–never good at sharing that!
Harvest Quinoa Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 2 cups leftover roasted diced butternut squash see note at end of recipe
- 1/2 dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup pepitas roasted pumpkin seeds
- Pumpkin Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Bring the vegetable stock, seasoned salt and quinoa to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.
Cool quinoa completely.
Prepare the dressing by mixing the pumpkin puree, vinegar, syrup, oil, salt, pepper, and thyme together.
Toss the quinoa with the dressing and then add the squash, cranberries, nuts, and seeds and fold into the quinoa gently.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours until flavors have had time to marry together.
**If you do not have leftover butternut squash, cut squash into 1/2 inch cubes to equal 2 cups. Toss with 1-2 teaspoons oil and roast at 425 for 25 minutes, or fork tender and starting to crisp up around edges. Cool before tossing in salad.