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.

Rectangular white bowl containing salad. Text overlay reads "autumn quinoa salad."

I don’t think it is any secret that I love quinoa. I almost always cook up an entire bag and throw some in the freezer for quick and easy meals. If you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, cooking quinoa is super easy.

I love to make a triple batch of quinoa pancakes and freeze them for an easy nutritious breakfast. They’re so good topped with cinnamon apple compote or applesauce. Ben is crazy about quinoa pancakes and they’re usually gone in less than a week.

You’ll find salads, stuffed peppers, chili, and more at RachelCooks, all with quinoa as the main ingredient.

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.

About this autumn quinoa salad

Let’s talk about this salad! It’s the perfect fall food. It stars roasted butternut squash, one of my favorites. Not sure about how to roast squash? I’ve got you covered in this guide to cooking squash. You’ll find out how cook all varieties of squash, with lots of recipes for the squash, too.

Dried cranberries give this quinoa salad a sweet, tangy chewy element, and the feta cheese adds a tangy-salty bite. And bacon — well, that’s just obvious.

The homemade vinaigrette is easy to make and could be used for most any salad. Simply whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard. Add a few grinds of coarse black pepper, and a pinch of salt. 

Partial overhead image of bowl containing salad.

 

Make it your own: 

  • Mix in chopped greens of your choice: spinach, kale, arugula, etc.
  • Add toasted nuts or seeds, like walnuts, pepitas, or sunflower seeds. Or top it with this savory granola
  • Stir in chopped apples or sliced grapes. 
  • Substitute dried apricots, dried cherries, or raisins for the dried cranberries.
  • Instead of feta, try gorgonzola or goat cheese.

Partial overhead image of white round bowl containing Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Bacon, Cranberries, Kale and Feta.

Want more fall flavors? I know you do! Try this similar yet different salad – a farro salad with butternut squash. It also has bacon, cranberries, and feta. It’s pretty amazing. Or this roasted cauliflower salad with arugula and sweet potato — so good!

Healthy quinoa recipes

Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein, versatile and easy to prepare. What more can you ask for? Try it in:

 

This autumn quinoa salad with roasted squash and bacon is a great side dish or even a main dish. Get the easy recipe on RachelCooks.com!

Autumn Quinoa Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

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.

Ingredients

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 use this recipe
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 6 ounces center cut bacon, chopped into one inch pieces

Instructions

  1. Add vinaigrette ingredients to small bowl and whisk until combined. OR: Put all ingredients in a jar and shake until combined (my preferred method!).
  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions. One cup of uncooked quinoa will make about 4 cups cooked. Cool slightly.
  3. Fry bacon pieces until crispy. Remove bacon to paper-towel lined plate to drain.
  4. 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.
  5. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. It tastes great all three ways! Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Make this vegetarian by leaving out the bacon! Quinoa packs a ton of protein.
  • Add toasted walnuts, 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

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram