Fall Quinoa Salad

Easy and healthy, this fall quinoa salad is an autumn superstar! Packed with roasted butternut squash, crunchy apple and a dreamy maple dressing, it will be a hit for dinner or the holidays. And best yet, this harvest quinoa salad is gluten free, vegan and comes together in 40 minutes or less.

A white bowl filled with Fall Quinoa Salad.

Are you ready for a delicious dish that’s perfect for a regular autumn dinner OR that’s ready to shine on your holiday table?

Well then look no further than this easy fall quinoa salad.

Packed to the brim with all the goodness that harvest season has to offer, it’s one you’re gonna want to make ASAP.

We have roasted butternut squash, crisp fresh apple, crunchy pecans, peppery baby arugula!

All tied together with a dreamy maple / mustard / apple cider vinegar dressing.

And did I mention that it comes together in 40 minutes or less AND that it’s excellent served warm or cold?

Yup, it’s cozy fall perfection. Light up a fire, grab your favorite sweater, cozy fall perfection. 

A tray of roasted butternut squash, and chopped arugula, quinoa and apples in small bowls.

How To Make Fall Quinoa Salad

So, let’s talk about how this simple dish goes down.

Roast the veggies. First up, we’ll add some butternut squash and red onion to a baking sheet and then pop in the oven under nice and tender. 

Cook the quinoa. Meanwhile, we’ll cook some quinoa on the stove until perfectly fluffy.

Prep the mix-ins. We’ll also chop up an apple, some raw pecans and a touch of baby arugula … and whisk together a quick dressing.

Toss it all together. Everything gets mixed in a large bowl and then we dive on in!

All the components for Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad in a mixing bowl.

Let’s Talk Substitutions

Now, this salad is also super customizable. Here are a few ideas to switch things up:

  • use sweet potatoes instead of the butternut squash
  • try a pear instead of the apple
  • go for raw walnuts in place of the pecans
  • sub in baby spinach / baby kale for the arugula

A white bowl filled with Harvest Quinoa Salad with a serving spoon.

Tips & Tricks For This Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

  1. Let’s talk how to prep this dish. Get the butternut squash in the oven and THEN prep all the other components – the quinoa, the mix-ins and the dressing. This will shave about 10 minutes off the total recipe time.
  2. Now, I use pre-cut butternut squash in this salad. If you’re cutting up a whole squash right when making it, the prep time will be longer.
  3. And finally, this salad is excellent as a side or main dish. If I’m serving it as a main, I like to top with a cooked protein of choice.

How To Store

Let the salad cool to room temp then transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge. It will keep for about four days.

When ready to enjoy, you can rewarm the salad OR serve it cold or at room temp. It’s fantastic any which way.

A white dish filled with Apple Quinoa Salad and a serving spoon.

Additional Quinoa Salad Recipes You Might Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below! I’d love to hear from you.

Fall Quinoa Salad

Fall Quinoa Salad

Yield: about 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Easy and healthy, this fall quinoa salad is an autumn superstar! Packed with roasted butternut squash, crunchy apple and a dreamy maple dressing, it will be a hit for dinner or the holidays.


For the veggies:

  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash (about ¾ inch chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium-large apple, chopped (about 1 ¾ cups)
  • ½ cup raw pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby arugula, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt


For the veggies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Add the red onion and butternut squash to a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil then sprinkle with the chili powder, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer.
  3. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender (but not mushy). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

For the salad:

  1. Meanwhile, add the quinoa and water to a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork. 
  2. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then add in the cooled butternut squash, apple, pecans and arugula.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, dijon, nutmeg and salt until well combined. Pour into the bowl with the quinoa and toss gently to combine.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired (I usually add about ¼ teaspoon or so more salt). Serve!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 352mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 7g

Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.