Thanksgiving Quinoa Salad with Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash

quinoa butternut salad

This is a favorite from my recipe archives, which I first taught at a class on whole grains several years ago.  It brings together quick-cooking quinoa with seasonal produce– kale, butternut squash, and pomegranate seeds.  (For the latest and best way I’ve discovered on how to open a pomegranate, see my quick video on Facebook.)  I think this will make a  perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table.  (Tip: to make this a plant-based entree, you could add some cooked chickpeas and use this to fill a halved, roasted, and partially hollowed-out butternut, acorn, or delicata squash.)

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.

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 the 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 or torn into small pieces

½ cup roasted pistachios, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425 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 and lightly caramelized. Set aside to cool.
  2. Add quinoa to a pot of  salted water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until all the water has absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.  Spread onto a baking sheet to cool (this will allow it to cool quickly and prevent clumping).
  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

Thanks for coming by! I’d love to hear your comments! Want more recipes like this? Come join me in the Thrive Kitchen at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, Mission Bay for a fun, hands-on cooking class.  You can get more information by joining my Facebook community,  To register for an upcoming Thrive Kitchen class, email or call 415-833-3450 for more information and to register.  Hope to cook with you soon!


One response

  1. Pingback: A Vegetable-Forward Thanksgiving ft. Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta Alfredo | spicebox travels

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