Quinoa salad is one of those cliche vegan sides that primarily has kale and nuts or other seeds. It’s a “trendy” dish that scares so many people away because of the name, I guess? Well don’t be afraid – quinoa is delicious and if you’re not a fan of kale, spinach is a simple substitute. You can even use brown rice if you’re not able to get ahold of quinoa. It’s a very versatile side with so many possible combinations.
The great thing about this recipe is you can either prep ahead everything and mix it together the day you want to serve it or you can chop everything and roast it while your quinoa is steaming away. It’s a super simple recipe that only requires a little patience, luckily everything can bake together so it saves time in the long run. I recommend preparing the glaze beforehand so you’re not juggling three different things at once. Though they all require very little attention, it’s never my intention to overwhelm anyone that wants to recreate my recipes. Do whatever feels right to you!
Fall Inspired Quinoa Salad + Orange Balsamic Glaze
This is a wonderful dish to serve during the holiday season. It's perfect warm, cold or at room temperature. It's kind of like my healthier alternative to stuffing - but you make stuffing if you want it!
- Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup Quinoa, dried
- 2 cups Acorn Squash, diced & roasted
- 2 cups Kale, lightly packed & massaged with lemon
- 10 oz. Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
- 1/8 cup Dried Cranberries or Raisins
- 1/8 cup Pumpkin Seeds
- Balsamic Glaze, to top
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Orange Glaze
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Orange Juice
- 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar
- For the orange glaze, measure and combine everything in a small pot over medium heat, about 20 minutes. Whisking frequently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low, simmering until reduced to half. About 10-15 minutes.
- For the quinoa salad, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Dice your onion into medium-small pieces. Half your grape or cherry tomatoes and slice your acorn squash into half moon 1/2 inch thick pieces.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and spread the veggies evenly out. I prefer keeping the squash on one and tomatoes plus onions on the other. Placing the squash on the rack above the other.
- Roast for 40 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and onions as soon as they start to brown (no flipping required).
- In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa to boil. Stir and reduce the heat to low, placing a lid on top. Let steam for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Fluff with a fork.
- Wash and tear your kale into small pieces, transfer to a bowl and massage with lemon juice for 1-2 minutes to break it down. This helps remove the bitter taste without cooking it.
- Transfer your quinoa to a large bowl. Fold in your vegetables, dicing your acorn squash into bite-sized pieces. I also removed the skin.
- Measure and mix in your cranberries, pumpkin seeds and kale. Season as needed with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle over the orange balsamic glaze as desired, folding to evenly incorporate it.
- Serve warmed, at room temperature or chilled.
Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Courses Side, Entree
Cuisine Gluten-free, Vegan, Oil-free