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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

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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!

Roasted pumpkin quinoa salad on a white serving platter.

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!

🥘 Ingredients

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.

Ingredients for healthy roasted pumpkin salad recipe on a white background.
  • 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.

Pumpkin, onions and spices mixed in a mixing bowl.

Transfer to the prepared baking tray and place pumpkin in an even single layer.

Roasted pumpkin and onions on a baking sheet.

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.

Roasted pumpkin and onions on a baking sheet.

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.

Cooked quinoa in a pot on the stove.

Mix Dressing: In a small bowl whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.

Salad dressing ingredients mixed in a mixing bowl.

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.

Kale being massaged in a mixing bowl.

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.

Arugula, quinoa, cranberries and roasted pumpkin combined in a mixing bowl.

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.

Salad dressing added to roast pumpkin salad.

💭 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

📖 Variations 

  • 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 —

For A Healthy Dinner: Soups and sandwiches go perfectly with this pumpkin kale salad! Try it with —

🙌 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.

🫙 Storage Directions

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.

❓Recipe FAQs

Is pumpkin salad healthy?

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.

WHAT TYPE OF PUMPKIN IS BEST FOR COOKING?

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!

CAN I EAT QUINOA SALAD COLD?

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!

Roasted pumpkin salad on a white serving platter.

🥗 More Healthy Salads & Side Dishes!

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/NXwmz_WRKcE
Roasted pumpkin quinoa salad on a white serving platter.
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

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!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: American, vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 220kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 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
  • cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds or walnuts toasted
  • feta crumbles optional

Dressing

Shop Ingredients on Jupiter

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 441mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g

22 responses to “Roasted Pumpkin Salad”

  1. This looks fab, I always have pumpkin in cakes, smoothies and soup but never a salad. Definitely time to change that!5 stars

  2. MMMM! I love fresh salads and using pumpkins is a great idea for the fall season. I’m saving this recipe to make til then!5 stars

  3. We have recently discovered quinoa and started to include it in our menu. What a great quinoa salad recipe it is! I made it, and it turned out perfect!5 stars

  4. The combination of flavors is delicious! The dressing turned out amazing and can’t wait to use it on another salad. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  5. I love adding quinoa to my salads and this was no exception! Light enough for a side dish but also hearty enough for the main course; delicious!5 stars

  6. Oooh such wonderful flavors in this quinoa salad! I love all that color and how everything comes together in just 20 minutes.5 stars

  7. Never heard of “Mole” Vinaigrette before until I’ve stumbled your blog. This looks amazing and I will definitely try this with my family but we’re not fan of black beans, do you have any alternative recommendations? Thank you!

    • Hi Kim! Yes! This vinaigrette is totally reminicent of mole but works so great on this salad. You can use any bean instead of black beans – pinto, navy, kidney, etc. would all work – and lentils would work too (any lentil that holds up after cooking and doesn’t become mushy). Hope that helps!

      • Thank you so much for replying! I’ll try those. Also I’ve been reading and checking your blog posts and I think you will be fit for our brand to do a collaboration. Email me at kim@amritahealthfoods.com if you are interested 🙂 Thanks again!

      • Ok great! And that sounds good – I’ll send you an email later today or tomorrow! Thanks Kim!

  8. This looks so simple and delicious! It’s like an original, healthier take on spicy beans… I love the idea!5 stars

    • Thank you so much Aaron! It totally is a healthier take on spicy beans – that’s a great way to describe it!

  9. What a great selection of recipes for quinoa. I personally love quinoa, but never know how to get very creative with it. What are some other recipes you have tried?5 stars

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