This Pumpkin Cranberry Quinoa Salad is yet another pumpkin recipe that I’ve been saving until now! I’ve recently posted a savoury recipe (Pumpkin Soup) and a sweet recipe (Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Chocolate Bark), but this one is probably my favourite of them all!
This Pumpkin Cranberry Quinoa Salad is basically an autumnal twist on my summery Nectarine Tabbouleh – it still boasts a kaleidoscopic array of colours, but instead of bright yellows and vivid greens, we have more subdued hues, like burnished oranges, deep purples and khaki greens.
I love the wonderful combinations of flavours and textures in this salad. I’ve paired dried cranberries with pumpkin in a biryani before, and I’ve used pumpkin seeds and cranberries together in sweet treats, so I was quite excited to use that combination again here!
And the final result was perfect – the nutty quinoa pairs beautifully with the sweet and tender kabocha pumpkin, caramelised red onion, juicy cranberries and crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds.
I then like to finish it all off with a 4-ingredient balsamic dressing, which provides the perfect combination of tart and sweet flavours.
Not only is this salad incredibly delicious, it’s also very healthy AND completely satisfying, thanks to all the protein, fibre and slow-release energy in the quinoa, veggies and seeds.
I like to use kabocha pumpkin (a Japanese variety of squash) for this recipe, as it’s sweeter than other types of pumpkin or squash and has a softer, silkier texture. But don’t worry if you can’t get hold of it, normal pumpkin or butternut squash works fine too!
This salad is delightfully easy to prepare ahead, so it’s perfect for a packed lunch. It’s also a great side dish to take along to festive gatherings as it’s vegan and gluten-free, so it suits a wide range of dietary requirements too.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 4 portions three-grain quinoa
- 1 small kabocha pumpkin, deseeded, cut into cubes and peeled if desired
- Olive oil
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- Handful of dried cranberries
- Few tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees
- Place the pumpkin cubes on a baking tray with a little drizzle of olive oil and salt + pepper
- Roast in oven for around 30 minutes, until soft and slightly browned
- Add the red onion slices about 10 minutes before taking the kabocha out - they should be golden brown and slightly caramelised
- Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to instructions on packet (add the dried cranberries to the quinoa before cooking as they become softer and juicier when boiled)
- Mix together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl
- Add the cooked quinoa and cranberries to a large bowl with the roasted pumpkin and red onion slices, pour over the dressing and mix well
- Serve onto plates and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds
- If you can't get hold of kabocha pumpkin, you can use any other type of pumpkin or butternut squash