This recipe is more of a method than a recipe. In college I would make healthy quinoa based salads all the time as easy lunches to pack or just enjoy quickly.
I’ll be honest, I overdosed on quinoa a bit in college and we needed to take a break from each other for a while. But i’m back on the quinoa loving train! If you’re not a quinoa fan, farro, wild rice, or barley would all be delicious substitutes.
I love to fill my quinoa salads with LOTS of stuff (like roasted veggies, nuts, cheeses etc) so that they are super flavorful while still being very good for you.
First it starts off by roasting butternut squash with some smoked paprika, cayenne, olive oil, salt and pepper.
You could roast other vegetables as well. Mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant, etc. Really it’s about whatever you have on hand or any vegetable that is on the verge of going bad is great to roast because it preserves them for a bit longer.
The more add in’s the better I say, but this time I went with some toasted almonds and dried cherries. Again, really any nut/dried fruit combination would probably be delicious. If you went with peanuts and made a thai inspired dressing..maybe that should be my next quinoa recipe post..!
For the dressing I whipped up a simple Balsamic viniagrette. I only used about half the dressing, but its easy to just whisk the dressing in the bottom of the bowl that you’re going to toss the salad in. Just take about half of the dressing out before tossing everything in the bowl.
In the bowl went 2 tsp dijon mustard, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. The mustard helps to emulsify everything and adds a delicious zingy flavor.
Next step is to just mix everything together. Feel free to add more dressing if you feel is necessary. I always like to add because it’s hard to subtract 🙂
In the bowl went the roasted squash (cooled slightly), dried cherries, almonds, baby kale, cooked quinoa, goat cheese, scallions, and half of the dressing. Always season to taste! I love the warming flavor combinations in this salad. If you wanted an extra boost of protein you could always add some cooked chicken or even chickpeas would be good.
I hope this recipe provides some good lunch inspiration for you all! Feel free to get creative with it!
Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic
For the salad:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 of a butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- Salt and pepper
- 6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
- 5oz baby kale
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Allow to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
3. Toss butternut squash on a sheet pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Roast, stirring halfway through, for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together, set about half of the dressing aside. Note, if you like your dressings a bit sweeter you could add a teaspoon of honey or agave.
4. In a large bowl toss the cooked quinoa, kale, cooked squash, goat cheese, almonds, and cherries together and dress with half the dressing to begin. Serve cold or at room temperature!
There are SO many modifications you can do for this recipe. If you don’t have quinoa feel free to use any other grain, if you don’t like goat cheese you can omit it or sub in feta, any type of dried fruit and nuts would be delicious, and really any type of green you prefer as long as it’s more of a leafy green. If you don’t like butternut squash you could do sweet potato instead. The possibilities are endless!
Any questions feel free to DM me or comment below!