Two Peas and Their Pod

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries & Pepitas

Tomorrow is the big day. Are you ready? We are in Thanksgiving prep mode and my stretchy pants are washed and ready to go:)

If you are looking over your Thanksgiving menu and have that gut feeling like something is missing, you are right. You are missing this Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries, and Pepitas. It is an easy salad that is full of fall flavors and perfect for Thanksgiving.

This salad is made up of very basic ingredients-quinoa, butternut squash, dried cranberries, pepitas, and a simple citrus honey dressing. So hopefully you don’t have to make another trip to the store. I am sure the grocery stores are pure chaos today, but if you have to venture out, this salad is worth it. I promise!

I roasted the butternut squash to bring out the best flavors. The dried cranberries add sweetness and a pop of color while the pepitas add a slight crunch. The citrus honey dressing is easy to whisk up and compliments all of the ingredients in the salad.

This is a great salad to serve on Thanksgiving because it is healthy! It’s nice to balance out the buttery potatoes drenched in gravy, stuffing, and pies. Plus, it’s vegetarian and gluten free. We always like to serve a variety of dishes in case we have guests with special dietary needs. And you can make this salad vegan by using agave instead of honey.

If you don’t have room on your Thanksgiving menu for this Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries & Pepitas, no worries. Make it after Thanksgiving. It is the perfect Thanksgiving detox salad:)

We hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for reading our blog, your comments, and continued support. We have the best readers! We are grateful for you all!

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries & Pepitas

Yield: Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Quinoa salad with roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, pepitas and a simple citrus honey dressing.


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning squash
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
Pinch of salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pepitas

For the Citrus Honey Dressing:

Juice of 3 large oranges
Zest of 1 large orange
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place butternut squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss until squash is well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 30 minutes, turning once, until tender.

2. While the butternut squash is roasting, cook the quinoa. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool quinoa cool to room temperature.

3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, butternut squash, dried cranberries, and pepitas. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, zest, olive oil, and honey. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle over quinoa salad. Toss until ingredients are well dressed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Note-you can use agave instead of the honey to make a vegan salad.

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85 Responses to “Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries & Pepitas”

  1. Rosa — November 21, 2012 @ 3:54 am

    A beautiful salad and combination! I love the idea.

    Happy Thanksgiving!



  2. Emily @ Life on Food — November 21, 2012 @ 5:43 am

    I don’t think I will be serving this on Thanksgiving but I am seriously thinking of having it the day after. What a yummy combo of ingredients and the colors are great!

  3. I love quinoa and butternut squash together, it’s such a wonderful combination. Have a happy Thanksgiving!!

  4. Vicki Bensinger — November 21, 2012 @ 7:38 am

    This is a wonderful salad and full of nutrients – perfect to help give energy while stuffing ourselves with turkey. I make something similar with Wheat Berries but love that you used quinoa the superfood grain with all my favorite fall ingredients.

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Blog is the New Black — November 21, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    Looks like a great side dish!

  6. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — November 21, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    This salad looks lovely, and it so full of tasty. healthy fall flavours! What a hit!

  7. Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) — November 21, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    The citrus honey dressing sounds like it would make the dish – yum!

  8. marla — November 21, 2012 @ 9:20 am

    This looks great Maria! I love quinoa!

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  10. Kerry — November 21, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    Wow! This salad looks delish! The dressing sounds amazing!

  11. Erica — November 21, 2012 @ 9:55 am

    Great vegetarian dish! mmm. I’m cooking up some butternut squash tomorrow- can’t wait! Happy Thanksgiving

  12. Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa — November 21, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    Looks delicious! I love mixing roasted squash and dried fruit with my quinoa. And the pepitas I’m sure add a much needed crunch. This would be a great alternative to stuffing!

  13. Amanda — November 21, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks fabulous girl!! So excited to get in the kitchen with you in February!! :) xoxo

  14. Katie @ Blonde Ambition — November 21, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    This has all my favorite fall ingredients!! And I love orange and cranberries together, so the dressing is PERFECT!

  15. Ruby @ The Ruby Red Apron — November 21, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

    I love the colors on this salad. I do crave healthy salads like this after Thanksgiving so great idea!

  16. Joanne — November 21, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

    Unfortunately I don’t think I have time to run to the store to get these ingredients but this seems like the perfect detox food for after the big day!!

  17. Brian @ A Thought For Food — November 21, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

    Oh my goodness! I made something very similar for the vegetarians at my Friendsgiving dinner last weekend. Now you have me craving quinoa again.

    Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving!

  18. Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony — November 23, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    I’m going to make this as a Thanksgiving detox meal looks so good and healthy,

  19. DawnK — November 23, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

    We had most of the ingredients on hand! We didn’t have Craisins, but we did have currants. Sweet potatoes stood in for some of the squash, and my daughter added some leftover pomegranate arils! We all loved it!

  20. Diana @ Eating Made Easy — November 26, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    I’m a sucker for a quinoa salad. Looks delightful!

  21. כלי מטבח — December 5, 2012 @ 5:33 am

    It was delicious!!!

  22. Katie — December 5, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    Cant wait to make this tonight. I forgot to grab the pepitas, do you think roasted (non salted) pistachios would work?

    • Two Peas replied: — December 5th, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

      Yes! Enjoy!

  23. Kim - Liv Life — December 6, 2012 @ 12:38 am

    I’ve been eating a version of this salad for a few weeks and had grown a bit tired of my recipe… this one is sure to spice up my lunch! Love the addition of the cranberries… just perfect.

  24. Elizabeth — December 13, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    This dish is quite tasty; I even ate it cold the next day. Yum!

  25. Rachel Jablon — December 18, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

    What exactly are pepitas? Can I use the seeds from the squash itself, or should I buy packaged pumpkin seeds?

    • Two Peas replied: — December 18th, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

      Pepitas are pumpkin seeds. I always buy them, but if you want to roast the seeds from the squash, you can!

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  30. Molly — January 15, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

    This is amazing! I saw a lot of comments that it looked good, but not a lot of people that tried it, and it is worth framing the recipe it’s so good. I used agave instead of honey, and used sweet potatoes (just what I had on hand). Oh..and roasted the sweet potatoes with cinnamon too. Thanks for the post!

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  33. Zia — February 9, 2013 @ 8:23 am

    Tried this out last week and have made it twice now (with a few changes) It’s very delicious and filling! I omitted the pepitas-just didn’t feel like having them, and added handfuls of arugula…..MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm SO GOOD. Thank you for the recipe :-)

  34. Joan — February 15, 2013 @ 11:24 am

    This was absolutely delicious! I’ve made it many times at this point and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. And every person who tries it loves it too!

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  38. Shannon — August 10, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

    Do you happen to know the nutritional facts for this delicious dish?

  39. Lori — September 23, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

    I was thinking of making this so I figured out the nutritional facts based on 10 servings. I estimated the butternut squash at 4 cups and then using all of the dressing.

    Calories: 317
    Fat: 13 g
    Fiber: 4 g
    Protein: 8 g
    Sugars: 13 g

    If substituting sweet potatoes, they are almost triple the calories and carbs, have 2 1/2 times the fiber, 4 times the protein and almost 6 times the sugar than the squash.

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