Roasted Pumpkin SaladThis post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.
This roasted pumpkin salad is flavorful, comforting, and super healthy! It’s made with wholesome ingredients like pumpkin, quinoa, kale, and arugula that come together in the most delicious way! It’s perfect as a side dish but hearty enough to be a main meal too. And, it is naturally gluten-free and vegan friendly!
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! You can easily make delicious, healthy recipes that are super satisfying and tasty. That’s what I love about this healthy pumpkin salad recipe. It has a little bit of everything in it, and when the ingredients are combined, it gives you an explosion of flavors.
Quinoa adds great texture, a healthy dose of whole grains, and a balance of essential amino acids to any meal – so it’s a great addition to salads! This is a protein packed salad tossed in a refreshing dressing.
This is the perfect salad whenever you are craving something equally cozy and fresh, great during pumpkin season, and is the best way to get your daily dose of veggies and leafy greens.
Use this roasted pumpkin quinoa salad as a side for your Thanksgiving dinner, or bulk it up a bit for a light lunch or easy weeknight dinner anytime of year!
👩🏽🍳 Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Quinoa Salad
- High In Protein: Quinoa is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it the perfect way to add protein into your day.
- Easy To Prepare: This roast pumpkin salad only takes 10 minutes to make with simple directions!
- Flavorful: This salad with pumpkin will exceed your expectations when it comes to flavor! It has the comforting warmth from the roasted veggies, a touch of sweetness from dried cranberries, and an effortless crunch from toasted sliced almonds. And let’s not forget about the lemon dijon mustard dressing!
- Light & Fresh: Even though this salad is hearty, the fluffy quinoa keeps things feeling light and the kale and arugula feel super fresh.
- Vegan & Gluten-Free: No need to stress if you have dietary restrictions! This pumpkin quinoa salad is vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar free. Plus, it is versatile to meet other dietary adaptations. Keep reading for more guidance!
Latest Recipe Video!
This delicious roasted pumpkin salad is made with a handful of simple ingredients that will leave you feeling nourished. You can easily find everything you need at pretty much any of your local grocery stores. For exact measurements, check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Fresh Pumpkin: Use pumpkin or butternut squash for this fall quinoa salad. You’ll want to cut it into small cubes so it cooks quickly.
- Red Onion: Alongside the pumpkin, you will roast sliced red onion.
- Olive Oil: Use extra virgin olive oil to roast the squash and onion to perfection!
- Spices: Combine sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt for a flavorful salad!
- Quinoa: This pumpkin and rocket salad is not complete without quinoa, which adds more texture, protein, and health to this savory recipe. Use red quinoa, white quinoa, or black quinoa. Want more quinoa recipes? Try this quinoa oatmeal or this black bean quinoa casserole!
- Kale & Arugula: The salad greens for this perfect side dish are a mix of kale and arugula, giving the perfect combination of texture and taste.
- Parsley: Using parsley is a great way to add an extra punch of flavor in this salad with roasted pumpkin.
- Dried Cranberries: Adding dried cranberries to this side salad brings out a lovely touch of the fall and winter months, while still being inviting for any time of year.
- Almonds: Slivered and toasted almonds compliment all of the other ingredients perfectly.
- For The Homemade Dressing: You will need lemon juice (bottled or fresh lemon juice both work well), dijon mustard, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Adding lemon zest is optional and would add a burst of bold lemon flavor to this roast pumpkin quinoa salad dressing.
🍲 Ingredient Substitutions
- Squash: While butternut squash is related to a pumpkin and the easiest to find and roast, you can also use actual pumpkin, other types of winter squash, your favorite root vegetables, or even sweet potatoes.
- Oil: Any oil will work for roasting the pumpkin and onions! Try using avocado oil or coconut oil.
- Spices: Switch up the taste of this pumpkin rocket salad with other spices like cumin, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Play with the fall flavors by trying it with nutmeg, cinnamon, or pumpkin spice.
- Grains: If you are not a fan of quinoa, try this healthy fall recipe with other grains like brown rice or wild rice.
- Greens: While kale and arugula are amazing in this roasted pumpkin salad, you can also use other leafy greens like baby spinach leaves or spring mix.
- Toppings: If you prefer to swap out the cranberries, almonds, or parsley, try this salad with other toppings. Favorites include pumpkin seeds, salty feta, pomegranate seeds, fresh mint, sunflower seeds, walnuts, or shaved brussels sprouts.
- Pumpkin Salad Dressing Alternatives: Play with flavors and use balsamic vinegar or a red wine vinegar in place of the mustard for an oil and vinegar style. This roasted pumpkin salad would also be great with a balsamic dressing, this vegan Italian dressing, or this avocado green goddess dressing.
🔪 How To Make Roasted Pumpkin Salad
Follow these easy steps for the most delicious salad ever! Once you make this one time, you’ll feel like a pro and it will become one of your favorite things to make. Here is how to make roast pumpkin quinoa salad:
Preheat & Combine Roast Ingredients:: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine pumpkin, sliced onion, 1 tbsp olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and salt into a large bowl and toss to combine.
Transfer to the prepared baking tray and place pumpkin in an even single layer.
Bake: Roast pumpkin cubes for 30-40 minutes in the hot oven, or until the pumpkin is soft and lightly golden in color. Cooking times may vary so check in around 25-30 minutes.
Cook Quinoa: Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions. For ½ cup of quinoa you will need 1 cup of water. Set aside to cool.
Mix Dressing: In a small bowl whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
Massage Kale: Add ⅓ of the dressing to a large mixing bowl along with the kale. Using clean hands, massage the dressing into the chopped kale for 1-2 minutes.
Add Additional Ingredients: Next, combine quinoa, arugula, and cooked cubed pumpkin along with the dried cranberries and ½ of the chopped parsley. Gently toss to combine.
Garnish & Serve: Arrange pumpkin arugula salad in a serving bowl, drizzle with dressing and top with slivered almonds and remaining chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy.
💭 Expert Tips
- To Save Time: Cook the quinoa and roast the pumpkin ahead of time and assemble the salad when needed.
- Use Frozen Butternut Squash: Another way to save time and make this quinoa salad recipe super easy is to use pre-cubed frozen squash. You can throw it in a pan over medium-high heat with your onions and spices. Then, follow the rest of the directions as specified.
- For Fluffy Quinoa: If you want the best results with your quinoa, rinse it with cold water first. Then add to a small saucepan with water, salt, and a dash of oil. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. You can also use a rice cooker or instant pot to prepare your quinoa!
- Preparing Pumpkin For Roasting: If you are planning to start with a whole pumpkin, you will need to follow a few steps to prepare the pumpkin prior to roasting.
- Cut the top and bottom of the pumpkin off (this will help with balance and peeling)
- Set the pumpkin upright and cut in half lengthwise with a sharp knife
- Use a large spoon to scoop out strings and seeds
- Cut the pumpkin into thin wedges that are about 1- 1.5 inches thick, and peel the skin with a paring knife
- Cut the slices into 1 inch cubes
- Toss cubes with the oil, onions, and spices and cook on a large baking tray as directed above
- More Protein: Add in extra protein to this healthy salad recipe by topping with goat cheese, feta cheese, or parmesan cheese. I think you’ll absolutely love this as a quinoa pumpkin feta salad! You could also pair it with tofu or chicken, or add walnuts for a pumpkin walnut feta salad.
- Summer Quinoa Salad: Lighten this salad up with summer flavors by using summer squash like zucchini or yellow squash. Use raisins or dried cherries in place of the cranberries.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Enjoy this pumpkin quinoa salad recipe on its own in a larger serving with your favorite toppings, or pair with other recipes as a great side dish. Here are some of our favorite ways to serve this tasty salad:
For Your Thanksgiving Table: Pair this pumpkin grain salad with classic plant based Thanksgiving recipes like —
- Vegan Turkey
- Healthy Cranberry Sauce
- Healthy Mashed Potatoes
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Healthy Pumpkin Pie
For A Healthy Dinner: Soups and sandwiches go perfectly with this pumpkin kale salad! Try it with —
- Italian Chickpea Soup
- Creamy Garbanzo Bean Soup
- Grilled Cheese Pita Sandwich
- Panera Mediterranean Sandwich
🙌 Dietary Adaptations
This pumpkin salad with quinoa is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar free as is! Here are a couple other adaptations that may be best for you:
Salt-Free Option: Skip the salt if you are on a low-sodium diet or looking to lower salt intake. Add in extra spices to keep the flavor bold!
Low FODMAP: If you are following a low FODMAP diet, skip the onions in this quinoa pumpkin salad. Use red bell peppers instead! You may also want to limit the quantity of dried cranberries. All of the salad dressing ingredients are already low FODMAP, as anything under 2 tbsp maple syrup is good to go.
For best results, follow these directions on how to store and keep this roast pumpkin and quinoa salad.
To Store In The Fridge: This pumpkin salad can be made ahead of time, without the salad dressing, and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1-2 days. You can store it in a mason jar for an easy meal prep, and shake it up with the dressing when ready to enjoy next time. Be sure the cooked quinoa has fully cooled before storing.
Yes! This roasted pumpkin quinoa salad is full of nutrients for a healthy, balanced meal. In addition to the protein content thanks to quinoa, you’ll also get a ton of benefits from the pumpkin/squash. Pumpkins are very high in beta-carotene, which can be naturally converted into vitamin A to support eye health. You’ll also find vitamin C and high antioxidant content, to help boost immunity and support skin health.
Smaller pumpkins are best for recipes that require cooking/roasting! Look for smaller pie pumpkins such as sugar pumpkins. Other squash options are kabocha squash or butternut squash. You will essentially get the same flavor and very similar nutrients from each!
Yes, this pumpkin quinoa salad can be served cold or warm. If enjoying this salad cold, you will need to cook the quinoa ahead of time, and it should be at room temperature before preparing the salad. However, for a warm pumpkin salad, heat the entire salad in a medium pot on the stove top over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then toss it with the dressing to serve as a warmer side dish instead of a salad!
🥗 More Healthy Salads & Side Dishes!
- Beetroot and Feta Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- Vegan Taquitos
- Keto Greek Salad
- Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup
- Tandoori Cauliflower
- Apple Walnut Salad
- Mushroom Fritters
Love this vegetarian salad recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!
📋 Recipe Card
🎥 Watch How to Make It
Roasted Pumpkin Salad
- 23 oz pumpkin or butternut squash peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 1 red onion sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup dry quinoa
- ½ bunch kale de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup arugula
- 3 sprigs of parsley roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup slivered almonds or walnuts toasted
- feta crumbles optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F / 200 C, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the diced pumpkin, slice onion, 1 tbsp olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and salt into a mixing bowl and toss to combine.
- Transfer to prepared baking tray and spread in an even layer.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and lightly golden in color.
- Meanwhile cook the quinoa as directed on the packaging. Set aside to cool.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
- To assemble the salad: Add ⅓ of the dressing to a mixing bowl along with the kale.
- Using clean hands, massage the dressing into the chopped kale for 1-2 minutes.
- Next add the arugula, cooked pumpkin and quinoa along with the dried cranberries and ½ of the chopped parsley. Gently toss to combine.
- Arrange salad on a serving dish, drizzle with dressing and top with slivered almonds and remaining chopped parsley.
- Serve and enjoy.
- Salad can be made ahead of time, without the salad dressing, and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days however the salad is best served immediately.
- To save time, you can cook the quinoa and roast the pumpkin ahead of time and assemble the salad when needed.
- You can also add crumbled feta cheese over top of the salad for added protein.
- Dried cranberries can be substituted with pomegranate seeds or raisins.
- Butternut squash can be substituted with other varieties if pumpkin if preferred.
- This salad can be served warm or cold.