Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries & Pepitas

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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!

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Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries & Pepitas

Quinoa salad with roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, pepitas and a simple citrus honey dressing.
5 from 4 votes


For the salad:

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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  •  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 or maple syrup instead of the honey to make a vegan salad.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @twopeasandpod and hashtag it with #twopeasandtheirpod

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. 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!

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

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

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

  7. 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!!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

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

  11. 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.

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

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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 🙂

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. Is this ideally served at room temperature or warm? I want to try it for a potluck and want to know how to keep it.

    1. I usually serve it warm, but I’ve eaten leftovers cold from the fridge and it is good that way too!

  18. this was delicious!! I made a batch for me to try it out and then one for my work’s potluck. I probably could have just ate the squash out of the oven but with the combination of the cranberries and pepitas it was so yummy! I loved the fresh squeezed dressing. I think I’ll make more salad dressing from scratch

  19. Best recipe ever…made it for Valentine’s dinner with baked salmon. Hubby loved the sweetness from the oj…I also added red and yellow bell peppers. Thank You!

  20. I used just 1 cup of quinoa not 2 but the amount of quinoa compared to the squash is still way more than it looks in this photo. I’m thinking 1/2 cup would be a better proportion.

  21. If making this ahead would you recommend holding the dressing until just before serving or storing it all together?

  22. Amazing recipe!

    I am wondering if it would be okay for us to use your image and link to the recipe on your website for an upcoming newsletter for our company.

    Thanks so much!

  23. I made this for thanksgiving. I had high hopes but I must have done something wrong. It looks more like mush with cranberries. Nothing like your beautiful picture. This was my first time cooking quinoa. Maybe I overcooked? And the squash turned to mush too. Oh well. I hope everyone still likes the taste!

  24. I was thinking of making this for an upcoming potluck at work. Can I dress it ahead of time? Or should it wait till just before serving? Thanks in advance. I’m a big fan of yours.

  25. How much liquid is the juice of three oranges? I have only squeezed two so far and it’s almost a cup. I just want to make sure the proportion of oil to orange juice is correct.