Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad

I decided to go for a warm salad this week. We’ve been pretty busy around here. Tony has been hanging drywall in our new to us house. I am doing the painful task of breaking out a shower pan that I built and starting over. I am definitely not a great cement layer. However, I got some new things that will make creating the new one easier. Let’s hope. This means, time intensive recipes are not a good idea right now. I typically grocery shop and meal prep on Saturday and cook on Sunday. For the Sunday meal, I’ll have all of my veggies prepped and anything I can pre-cook. That way Sunday there is minimal prep.

Since this recipe is a warm salad, I can prep most of the ingredients ahead of time. I am using a recipe from Half-Baked Harvest for Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad. This salad has a lot of healthy things going for it. Good protein and plenty of vegetables, but the nutrition profile is heavy on the calories and light on the vitamins. I also want to add a little meat too and skip the cheese. I also may change the squash type too. The same flavor profile, just more vitamin rich ingredients. Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I deleted the haloumi because Tony wants to avoid cheese right now.
  • I cut the salt in half to reduce the amount of sodium.
  • I cut down the amount of olive oil for roasting by half to reduce the calories.
  • I replaced the acorn squash with butternut to increase the vitamin A.
  • I replaced the baby kale with regular kale for vitamin C and because it’s easier to find.
  • I removed the pomegranate because they are also hard to find.
  • I removed the maple syrup to reduce the sugar and calories.
  • I added in some poached chicken breast to add protein.
  • I increased the servings from 6 to 7 to reduce the calories.

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:


Fall Harvest Quinoa Salad

Serves 7

For the salad

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 200g butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • pinch of Ground Cayenne Red Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Kale, chopped
  • 1 apple cored + thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or roasted pistachios
  • 1 pound poached chicken breast, chopped

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. On a baking sheet, toss together the squash, olive oil, cinnamon, cayenne 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing twice throughout cooking until the squash is tender and lightly caramelized.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the warm quinoa, roasted squash, kale, apples, and pumpkin seeds. Gently toss to combine.
  5. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the heat and add to the salad.
  6. Drizzle with the turmeric tahini dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tumeric Tahini Dressing

  1. In a blender combine the tahini, turmeric, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons water and blend until smooth, adding water to thin the dressing until it is pourable. 

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