Go with the Grain! Part 2: Quinoa Salad with Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash

quinoa butternut salad

Last week, I gave a brief manifesto on all that is glorious about whole grains, both from a nutritional and culinary standpoint. Please visit that post if you’d like to know more about whole grains and to see a recipe for a farro salad.

This week, I’m presenting the quinoa salad that I gave at my recent healthy cooking community event, called “Go with the Grain.”  I was surprised to realize that this is the first quinoa salad I’m including on this blog, as quinoa is both a nutritional superstar and an ingredient from world cuisine (maybe I need to make a trek to Peru).

Quinoa, besides being quick cooking and versatile, is not a true grain but actually a relative of beets and chard.  It carries a nutritional mark of distinction for being a “complete protein”– meaning it contains all the amino acids our bodies need.  So this is a perfect for for those of you who are vegan, vegetarian or simply trying to clean up your diet by eating more plant-based foods.

Kale-Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

This is a very colorful kale salad with richness added by roasted butternut squash and chopped pistachios.  The pomegranate seeds look like little rubies and add tart, juicy bursts of flavor.  And, true to my kale-loving self, of course there is kale.

Inspired by recipe for Black and Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Squash in Bon Appetit, January 2014

Serves 8


1 cup raw quinoa

2 cups water, salted with a pinch of salt

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut in ½ inch cubes

½ cup olive oil, divided

freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup pomegranate seeds (from ½ to 1 whole pomegranate)

2 cups kale, center rib removed, cut into small pieces

½ cup roasted pistachios, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.  Toss butternut squash with ¼ cup olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, turning once.  Roast until al dente, then cool.
  2. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to remove bitter residue.  Cook quinoa in boiling salted water for about 30 minutes, drain and rinse, then spread onto a baking sheet to cool.
  3. Prepare the dressing: whisk together vinegar, honey and remaining ¼ cup olive oil.
  4. Place kale in a large bowl.  Gently “massage” for a minute with your hands until the leaves become slightly wilted.
  5. Add cooled quinoa and butternut squash to the bowl and toss with dressing, then top with pomegranate seeds, scallions and pistachios.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and toss  to combine.  Serve at room temperature.

Nutrition Info: Cal 288, Fat 18g, Protein 5g, Sodium 15mg, Sugar 5g

For more whole grain information, see part one of this post.

For other pomegranate recipes on SpiceboxTravels, you might like:

Dark Chocolate Vanilla Pomegranate Parfait

Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Stew)

And to understand all the fuss about kale, please visit my post on National Kale Day.

Thanks for coming by! I’d love to hear your comments!

2 responses

  1. Pingback: This Week in Culinary School: Week 10 | spicebox travels

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