Make Ahead

Roasted Butternut and Red Quinoa Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

August 23, 2013
4.7 Stars
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This is my red quinoa salad with roasted squash, white beans, toasted pumpkin seeds, and cilantro, all mixed in a spicy lime vinaigrette. You can save the seeds from the squash to use as a garnish too! The bright, citrusy element of the dressing complements the filling, richness of the squash and beans, which also really helps to lighten up this whole grain, whole veggie meal. —Jill Eats

Test Kitchen Notes

This is one of the best quinoa salads I've ever made. The dressing is insane -- I would love to make ceviche with it! When roasting the pumpkin seeds I added an extra teaspoon of olive oil to effectively make a paste with the paprika to coat. I would recommend tossing the salad with half of the dressing to start, and adding as you go. This has some great flavors and texture going on. —cratecooking

  • Serves 4
  • Vinaigrette
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Quinoa Salad
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled, seeded butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 15 ounces white beans or 1 can, drained
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
In This Recipe
  1. Vinaigrette
  2. In a small bowl, combine the shallot, garlic, jalapeño, lime zest and juice, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and red pepper.
  3. Gradually whisk in the olive and canola oils in a slow steady stream until combined. Taste for seasoning, and set aside until ready to dress the salad.
  1. Quinoa Salad
  2. Set the oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, combine the pumpkin seeds with the olive oil and paprika in one even layer. Toast for 8 minutes in the oven, or until browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  3. Turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees, and on the same baking sheet, combine the butternut squash and canola oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway through to evenly brown and caramelize. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, toast the quinoa, stirring often, for 2 minutes, or until the grains are aromatic. Add the water and a pinch of salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
  5. Add the squash, white beans, half of the pumpkin seeds, and half of the cilantro to the quinoa. Drizzle with the lime dressing and toss gently. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • robin lewis
    robin lewis
  • Danielle
  • suziqcu
  • Leanne Lamoureux
    Leanne Lamoureux
  • QueenOfGreen

30 Reviews

NXL February 14, 2022
This is soooo delicious! I wouldn't change a thing. I put all of the dressing on.
Renee B. November 23, 2018
This was really good. I use tricolor quinoa because it's what we had. I decided to add pomegranate arils (all from one pomegranate) for a little sweet burst of juiciness. The salad was very good without the arils but I think even better with them. My vegetarian niece was very pleased to have it at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Not traditional but still enjoyed by all. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Karma I. November 7, 2018
I am obsessed with this recipe! I substituted the quinoa with a really nice wild rice and added a few handfuls of cranberries as well. This is the perfect fall recipe and even better the next day!
Joeyman9 October 9, 2016
I know this recipe has been around awhile, however, this is amazingly delicious, great flavors. I didn't expect much for a dish that doesn't look as colorful as it tastes.
robin L. March 7, 2016
Curious to hear what other oil than canola people use for this...?
suziqcu March 7, 2016
Avocado Oil would work nicely, or grapeseed.
MM92572 January 30, 2016
This was delicious! I realized at the last minute that I was all out of quinoa (oops!) so used isreali couscous instead, and it was great. Used about 3/4 of the dressing bc otherwise it could have been too much. Will definitely make again.
Danielle March 9, 2015
It's just starting to feel like spring here, and this was the perfect dish to transition seasons. The hearty squash and beans paired with the bright citrus and cilantro is such an unexpectedly delicious combination. Separately, I may become addicted to these pumpkin seeds. So good!!
suziqcu March 6, 2015
Trying to incorporate more quinoa in my diet. Snowed in and wondering it it would be substantially different if I roasted sweet potatoes instead?
Arakasi March 6, 2015
I'm pretty sure that would be awesome.
suziqcu March 6, 2015
Great to know you think so. I'm going to get started now!
Author Comment
Jill E. March 6, 2015
That sounds like a lovely alternative! As long as they still have a nice textural balance with the quinoa, sweet potato would be great.
Arakasi February 19, 2015
I think the pepitas come out better if you toast them first, and then toss with oil and paprika.
Leanne L. January 17, 2015
Is this meant to be cold? Can it be made a day ahead and kept?
Author Comment
Jill E. January 18, 2015
You can enjoy this at room temperature, or chilled. If you make it a day ahead, I would wait to toss in the vinaigrette, so the mixture doesn't get overly soaked or soggy!
rachelanna October 17, 2014
This ended up so, so delicious. Making the dressing a day ahead was totally fine. I cooked the quinoa the night before too -- made it easy enough to throw together on a Monday night after a long day at work. This is going in the dinner rotation for sure.
QueenOfGreen October 17, 2014
This is my new favorite desk lunch! (I topped it off with a little grilled chicken too.)
rachelanna October 12, 2014
I'm excited to make this tomorrow. Question: can I make the dressing a day ahead? Trying to prep for the week. If anyone has tested this out/has a hunch, let me know. Thanks!
Margey D. October 12, 2014
Yes! Just give it a good whisk.
Manhattan T. September 7, 2014
Much more delicioius than the sum of its parts. Though there are multiple components at work here, they certainly all seem to work together beautifully, taste-wise. I'm not a huge smoked paprika fan but used the full amount with great success. I skipped the pepper flakes in fear of the dressing being too spicy and I'm glad I did. It was great w/o. I could see that a bit of baby kale, wilted, would also be great in this.
Marques June 24, 2014
Fantastic recipe! Just had a feeling it would be good...It's summer, so used new corn and asparagus instead of butternut squash. Went light on the peppers because I was serving to others, but it could stand more heat. Wiil DEFINITELY add this to the rotation, maybe try different peppers.
Adam E. March 19, 2014
Boy, I really wanted this one to work. Maybe I messed it up, but I don't think so. My only modification: serrano rather than jalapeno chili. Threw a lot away.
Amanda March 4, 2014
I made this for an Oscar party and it was a hit! I doubled the recipe and am still eating it. Tastes even better as the days go on. Love it, and will definitely make this again.
Lauren S. December 18, 2013
I have made this several times now for a dinner party, a friend who was recuperating from surgery, and a potluck. Each time it hits the spot. It travels and stays well. The mix of ingredients, tastes and textures are so perfect. Thanks for sharing!
blackberry November 12, 2013
This is an outstanding quinoa recipe...I've converted many onto quinoa with this one! I could eat this on its own all week long. I've made it at least a handful of times to rave reviews, and it's now in the regular rotation. At first I was very modest with the jalapeno and flakes, but once all the ingredients are assembled, the sweetness of the squash balances perfectly with the light heat of the jalapeno and chili flakes, the smokiness of the paprika, and the bright acidity of the lime. Perfect! Also love how healthy and nutritious the mix of ingredients are. I generally cut the oil in the dressing down in half as I like my dressings more acidic, and it still tastes perfect to me. Thanks for a great recipe Jillian! Tonight it's being paired with piri piri bbq chicken :)
Author Comment
Jill E. November 9, 2013
Thanks so much for sharing my recipe and all of the kind words! Hope to post some more healthful, flavorful new dishes for the winter!