Make Ahead

Roasted Butternut and Red Quinoa Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

August 23, 2013
26 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

  • Dariusz
  • AHW
  • robin lewis
    robin lewis
  • Danielle
  • suziqcu

41 Reviews

Dariusz March 29, 2024
Fantastic salad! Goes to my favourites. The mix of flavours is on point. It's a bit spicy, a bit sour, a bit sweet. It was a joy to eat!
jmac February 11, 2023
A wonderful surprise, this recipe packs in flavor extraordinairre! Be sure and use all of the jalapeno. I roasted red onion with the squash - delicious. Next time I'll add cranberries too. Enjoy!
ljpallas January 12, 2023
Loved, loved, loved this salad! The ingredients came together like a symphony in my mouth. SO delicious! I was afraid that an entire jalapeño (the ones I had were not “small”, but the dressing was just divine and I will use an entire jalapeño next time. Would be great with added grilled salmon, halibut, r similar. I did add some crumbled feta cheese, which added a nice bit of saltiness. I’m making this regularly!
Jounayet R. January 11, 2023
Ooooh, I will have to try this.
AHW January 10, 2023
Question: Do I forgo washing the quinoa first?
I am about to make this recipe for the first time... I have always washed quinoa first to rid of the bitter-tasting compound (saponin) that coats the tiny seeds, but I am assuming that this recipe has you toasting dry quinoa, so forgoing the washing bit. Am I right? Perhaps all the spice in this covers the bitterness? Can't wait to see what happens!
Hollister V. January 11, 2023
I did not rinse the quinoa and it tasted great. Dry Toasting is common for orzo, farro, and other grains to produce a richer flavor. I used my rice cooker for the quinoa so I could prep rest of the dish, easy peasy!
Hollister V. January 8, 2023
Wow! This was awesome! Like others have said, the dressing is the bomb. I used all of it in the salad. I went light on the jalapeño & skipped the red pepper flakes, just in case it was too hot. Next time I won’t be shy! I subbed a quarter onion for the shallot, and used cannellini beans. Thank you for a great recipe.
Darian January 8, 2023
This was really delicious, but made WAY more than 4 servings. We'll be eating this all week (not a terrible thing).
ustabahippie January 8, 2023
sounds great but i think white beans add enough protein to make a good meal.
ustabahippie January 8, 2023
And quinoa is high in protein as well.
duncans January 8, 2023
This was really tasty. My alterations were because I didn't have the exact ingredient on hand: used one canned adobo pepper in sauce, squeezed in (I know, I know...) tubed cilantro (garden currently frozen), used a mix of beans and twice as many, as I mistakenly dumped all of the vinagarette into the bowl making the salad a bit liquidy. Regardless, it was snappy delicious!
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!
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?
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.