This Pumpkin Quinoa Salad is super easy to make, healthy, full of flavour and packed with veggies.
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 vibrant reds, burnished oranges, deep purples and khaki greens.
I’ve paired dried cranberries with pumpkin in a biryani before, so I was excited to use that combination again here!
Why you’ll love this Pumpkin Quinoa Salad:
- The nutty quinoa pairs beautifully with the sweet, tender pumpkin, caramelised red onion, tart, juicy cranberries and crunchy pumpkin seeds. The dressing is super easy to make and adds the best tangy, sweet and salty flavour.
- It’s a great make-ahead side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but also works for meal prep or packed lunches.
- It’s healthy and nutritious but also filling and satisfying, and provides a good source of protein and fibre.
- It’s vegan and gluten-free.
How to make this Pumpkin Quinoa Salad
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt + pepper.
- Roast in oven for around 30 minutes.
- Cook the quinoa according to instructions on packet.
Tip: Add the dried cranberries to the quinoa before cooking as they become softer and juicier when cooked.
- Fry the red onion for 10 minutes.
- Place the cooked quinoa and cranberries in a glass mixing bowl with the roasted pumpkin and red onion.
- Mix together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
- Serve onto plates and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds, if desired.
How long does this Pumpkin Quinoa Salad keep for?
This Pumpkin Quinoa salad can be eaten warm or cold and keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days.
Substitutions you can make to this recipe:
- the pumpkin can be substituted with butternut squash or sweet potato
- you can use pre-cooked quinoa to make it easier
- you can substitute the dried cranberries with dried sour cherries
- you can substitute the quinoa with brown rice, wild rice or buckwheat, or another grain such as couscous or barley if you don’t need it to be gluten-free
- you can substitute the pomegranate molasses with any other sweetener
- you can substitute the balsamic vinegar with apple cider vinegar
- you can add any vegetables you like: sliced red pepper, grated carrot, chopped cucumber etc
- you can substitute the pumpkin seeds with pine nuts.
More festive side dishes:
- Scalloped Sweet Potato Gratin
- Cauliflower Cheese Gratin
- Green Bean Casserole
- Potato Dauphinoise Gratin
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo @rhiansrecipes #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.
Pumpkin Quinoa Salad (Vegan + GF)
- 800 g (28 oz) pumpkin , deseeded and cut into cubes *
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided (or sub coconut, rapeseed or vegetable oil)
- Salt + pepper to taste
- 255 g (1 1/2 cup) uncooked quinoa
- Handful dried cranberries (or sub dried sour cherries)
- 1 red onion , finely sliced
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or sub apple cider vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (or sub any other sweetener)
- Salt + pepper to taste
To serve (optional):
- Pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Place the pumpkin cubes on a baking tray (lined with baking paper), drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with salt + pepper
- Roast in oven for around 30 minutes, until soft and slightly browned
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to instructions on packet (add the dried cranberries to the quinoa before cooking as they become softer and juicier when boiled)
- Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the red onion once hot
- Fry for around 10 minutes until softened and slightly caramelised
- Place the cooked quinoa and cranberries in a large bowl with the roasted pumpkin and red onion
- Mix together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well
- Serve onto plates and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds, if desired
- Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
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