Autumn Quinoa Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
This autumn quinoa salad with roasted squash and bacon is a great side dish or even a main dish. The maple mustard vinaigrette drives the fall flavors home.
They usually last about a week. My husband loves them for breakfast! Okay…so do I.
It’s a feel good food. Eat it, feel good. You’re treating your body well! Much better than the Arby’s, popcorn, and lasagna that this pregnancy has been driving me to consume. But we don’t need to get into that. Let’s talk about this salad! It’s the perfect fall food. Roasted squash, one of my favorites. Dried cranberries to give it a sweet and tangy chewy element. Feta for a little tangy-salty bite. And bacon—well, that’s just obvious.
Want more fall flavors? I know you do! I made a similar yet different salad – a farro salad with butternut squash. It also has bacon, cranberries, and feta. It’s pretty amazing.
For the vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- black pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 3 cups roasted, diced butternut squash (I used this recipe
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese
- 6 ounces center cut bacon, chopped into one inch pieces
- Add vinaigrette ingredients to small bowl and whisk until combined. OR: Put all ingredients in a jar and shake until combined (my preferred method!).
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. One cup of uncooked quinoa will make about 4 cups cooked. Cool slightly.
- Fry bacon pieces until crispy. Remove bacon to paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Place cooled quinoa, roasted squash, cranberries, feta, cooked and drained bacon, and dressing in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. If preparing in advance, leave bacon out until last minute so that it remains crispy.
- Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. It tastes great all three ways! Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Make this vegetarian by leaving out the bacon! Quinoa packs a ton of protein.
I ate this leftover with some toasted walnuts on top (California Walnuts sent me some great ones)–so yummy! Or you could add some roasted sunflower seeds or pepitas, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 of 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 473mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 12g
Husband’s take: He liked this a lot! I’m always a little hesitant to serve him quinoa (I don’t know why), but we’re usually safe if there is bacon involved. E is still not a huge fan of quinoa (I think it is a texture thing, although she loves rice). She picked out and ate the cranberries, squash, and bacon, though. Typical for a toddler, right?
Changes I would make: None!
Difficulty: A little bit of prep work but otherwise very easy!