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If Thanksgiving weekend is the glorious, eat-all-the-things slow down, the week after it feels more like the hectic, eat-all-the-salads catch up. Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad is here to meet the demand. Wholesome, flavorful, and filling, it offers the healthy reprieve we crave after a long weekend of happy indulgence but doesn’t sacrifice on taste (it is SO YUMMY) or leave you hungry.

Maple Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Cranberries. A healthy, gluten free recipe filled with fall flavors. Easy, filling and perfect for make ahead lunches and dinners! Recipe at | @wellplated

The ingredients in this roasted butternut squash salad recipe are straightforward, but once combined, they create the complete, colorful, and glow-giving salad I associate with shiny gourmet grocery store cases. You’ll love opening your refrigerator and seeing a container of it waiting to be your lunch or dinner.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Cranberries. Healthy, gluten free, and perfect for easy lunches and dinners! Add feta or arugula, or enjoy simply as it is. Recipe at | @wellplated

How to Make the Best Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

The ingredients you’ll need for this tasty butternut squash recipe are:


To roast a medley of vegetables, and for more tips and seasoning suggestions, check out my ultimate guide to Oven Roasted Vegetables.

  • Quinoa. Cooked quinoa gives the salad a pleasant nuttiness, along with filling protein and fiber. Also the star in Quinoa Salad.
  • Dried Cranberries. A salad with cranberries is a happy salad. They add pleasant sweetness, good texture, and tang.
  • Pepitas (a.k.a. pumpkin seeds). A win for crunch, toastiness, and savoriness, plus healthy fats and protein.
  • Fresh Thyme. It’s here for warmth, color, and distinct fall-ness that is right on time for the change in seasons. It also makes the salad taste really special. Don’t be tempted to use dried. Fresh is where it’s at here!

Once you have your ingredients prepped, it’s time to toss them with:

  • Maple Dijon Vinaigrette. It’s super quick and easy to stir together and plays harmoniously with the maple notes in the squash. A touch of apple cider vinegar cuts the sweetness and gives the salad a lightness and brightness that will keep you wandering back to the fridge to snitch an extra bite.
Butternut Squash Cranberry Quinoa Salad. The best fall flavors come together in this easy, healthy recipe! Recipe at | @wellplated

I’m loving this salad for lunch this week specifically, because Ben and I spent our Thanksgiving in Barcelona, Spain, where we took full (dare we call it excessive?) advantage of the tapas culture and late-night hours, squeezing in at least three places every night.

That said, this is also a butternut squash recipe I make regularly because I love its feel-good ingredient list, comforting flavors, and the fact that it keeps me full all afternoon. Here are a few of my other favorite ways to enjoy it!

Recipe Adaptations

  • Change the Temp. You can enjoy this Butternut Squash Salad warm or cold. Try it both ways and see which is your favorite. It depends on my mood!
  • Add Extra Veggies. If you have extra roasted veggies from another recipe or even leftover butternut squash (this Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash and this Roasted Butternut Squash Parmesan are great examples), feel free to add them in. Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts are another add-in I really like here.
  • Add Some Green. I’ll often make extra dressing so I can mix the salad with greens. Butternut Squash Kale Salad and Butternut Squash Arugula Salad are two faves, and Butternut Squash Spinach Salad is good too, though I don’t think it has as much flavor as the first two. (If you use kale, be sure to finely chop and massage it first.)
  • Make It Fancy. A sprinkle of pomegranate seeds is delicious and pretty. You can use them either in place of or in addition to the cranberries. This roasted butternut squash salad recipe is perfect for packable lunches, can be a dinner side dish or a main dish, and is elegant enough to bring to a holiday party as well, especially if you add the pomegranate seeds and/or goat cheese.
  • Make It Cheesy. A handful of feta or goat cheese is ultra yummy if you have some on hand or want to add a dimension of creaminess.

Or you can enjoy this Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad just like it is ♥.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

  • To Make Ahead. Feel like a meal prep maven by making a big batch at the beginning of the week, or get a head start on your holiday meal by making it a day or two in advance.
  • To Store. This salad will last in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

4.91 from 20 votes
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Quinoa and Cranberries. A cozy, healthy butternut squash recipe filled with fall flavors.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Servings: 7 cups, approx.





  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the red onion in a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside. (This keeps the onion’s flavor but helps soften its harsh bite…and endless onion aftertaste.)
  • Place the butternut squash in the center of a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss to evenly coat, then spread the squash into a single layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • While the squash is baking, bring the broth (or water) and quinoa to a boil in a medium pan. If you are using water, add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand with the lid on for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then transfer to a large serving bowl.
  • In a small bowl or large measuring cup (or a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid), combine the dressing ingredients: olive oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle enough of the dressing over the warm quinoa to moisten it, then stir to combine.
  • Scrape the roasted butternut squash and any pan juices into the bowl with the quinoa. Add the cranberries, pepitas, and thyme. Drain the red onion then add it to the bowl. Toss to combine, adding more dressing as desired. (I like to reserve a little of the dressing for adding to leftovers.) Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • You can enjoy this salad on its own or try mixing it with arugula or spinach for an extra serving of greens. For the sake of streamlining the ingredients, I omitted the cheese, but if you feel so called, feta, goat cheese, or even a mild blue cheese such as gorgonzola would be delightful additions too.
  • No butternut squash? Try swapping diced, cubed sweet potatoes (note that they may need a little longer in the oven to roast).
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 5gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 339mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. I love your description of your refrigerator as a 3-dimensional game of tetris.  This week, mine is like that, too, except that it’s full of thawing things and leftovers (planned extra meals from one cooking session).  I didn’t realize until reading your post, that I needed to name its state.  This salad sounds like a wonderful side dish.  I especially love that you have a technique for eliminating the endless onion aftertaste.

  2. This looks and sounds absolutely heavenly. And I feel you on the fridge problems – It’s hard to fit enough for 7 people in one fridge!

  3. Obsessed with the flavors in this! Such a great fall recipe! You had me at the combination of squash + dried cranberries!

  4. “For the sake of streamlining the ingredients, I omitted the cheese, but if you feel so called, feta, goat cheese, or even a mild blue cheese such as gorgonzola would be delightful additions too.” I did not see cheese in the list of ingredients or in the pic ..? (I have no imagination when it comes to recipes… :-} ).

    1. Hi Catherine, that’s right, there’s no cheese in the recipe because I felt it was delicious without it, but I gave those suggestions in case cheese-lovers wanted some ideas for a crumble of cheese on top of the salad!

      1. Duh. As I said, to paraphrase, sometimes I’m WAY too literal… I forgot to say, I can’t wait to make this for my women’s club meeting in Nov. I LOVE both b’nut squash and quinoa, so this is perfect!

  5. Looks incredible, and fits my vegan needs! I’m looking for make-ahead dishes. How does this taste coming from the refrigerator one or 2 days later?

  6. just made this wonderful dish. substituted pomegranate seeds for the cranberries and added sheep feta on a bed of chopped spinach. so yummy! thanks for the recipe.  I will be bringing it to  Thanksgiving dinner.5 stars

    1. Faith, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  7. I made this for dinner last night and had leftovers for lunch today. Yum! I swapped the squash for sweet potatoes and stirred in fresh spinach while it was still warm so the spinach wilted a bit. I will definitely be making it again. Thanks for the great combination of flavors.5 stars

    1. Your tweaks sound delicious Janet! I am so so happy you loved this! Thanks for trying it and taking time to leave this wonderful review!

  8. This side dish has it all; crunch-taste-texture and oh yeah its healthy! I tried last week to “test” and it definitely has a place on my table, actually this is replacing my old squash dish…Thanks for sharing this one..5 stars

    1. Second reply: THANK YOU for leaving this 5 star rating. It is SO HELPFUL to me and to others considering trying the recipe. I really appreciate it!

  9. I made this delicious salad for Thanksgiving. Love the flavor and it looks very beautiful too. Going to make it again. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.5 stars

    1. Sindhu, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the salad! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this great review!

  10. I would like to make this the night before. Should I reheat it the day I plan to serve it or just leave it out till it comes to room temp? I’m thinking it would taste better warm? Or if anyone has made it, did you prefer it warm or cold?

    1. Joby, I actually like it both ways! I think it just depends on what you’d like to go for. Maybe try both and see what you think!

  11. I left out the onion and used parsley, toasted pecans, and balsamic vinegar and it tasted delicious! I’ll definitely make again.4 stars

    1. Patricia, I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for sharing your tweaks and taking the time to leave this great review!

    1. YAY Melanie, I’m so glad it was a hit! Thanks so much for taking the time to give it a try and report back.

  12. This recipe is excellent.  So good!!!  I substituted chopped dried mango for the cranberries and added a bunch of chopped fresh kale that I had lightly steamed.   I also did not add any salt.  5 stars

  13. Love this  recipe. I have been making it since last thanksgiving.
    I have also meal prepped it for the week a lot. I have made it ahead for at least 5 days and it was still great. Do you think this would freeze good in individual servings to pull out for weekly lunches. (Instead of making it weekly?  5 stars

    1. Hi Jenny, I actually wouldn’t recommend freezing this as the butternut squash may get mushy and watery once defrosted. I’m so glad to hear you enjoy the recipe!

  14. I’m in love…..with a quinoa salad ?! This is so delicious! I doubled the recipe on my first go around hoping it would be good and I was pleasantly graced with excellent! Love all these flavors! Only one changed – had to use honey because I don’t have maple syrup. Thank you so much!5 stars

  15. Just curious have you tried swapping out the butternut squash for another squash like acorn? Only wondering because I already have an acorn squash at home lol Can’t wait to try this tonight!4 stars

  16. This salad was amazing and such a crowd pleaser! I will definitely put this in my go tos for picnics, parties, and lunches!5 stars

  17. I have made this salad 3 times now! So delicious! A great way to use up butternut squash!
    I always double the dressing to use on leftovers. Toasting the pepitas and using fresh thyme is a must.
    Thank you for an awesome recipe.5 stars

  18. Made this tonight for lunches for meal prep lunches. I added roasted brussel sprouts and arugula and I’m very excited to eat it this week. Only thing is that I made way too much and there’s no way I’ll be able to eat it all! Would this freeze well? I’ve already added the dressing. 

    1. Hi Karyn, you could experiment with freezing, but roasted veggies like squash and brussels tend to get mushy and soggy after defrosting from the freezer. If that’s not a concern for you, you could give it a try!

      1. Thanks Erin, I appreciate the quick response! I will see how much I can eat this week and maybe experiment with freezing depending on how much is leftover. It was so delicious that I would hate to see it go to waste!5 stars

  19. As a chef and culinary instructor who does lots of live and filmed demonstrations I must say that I really enjoy your recipes and your style of presentation. Keep up the good work!

  20. Beautiful salad and actually filling as a main dish (trying to eat healthy and stay full is a challenge!)
    Also perfect for when I go home as I have family who are vegan and gluten free so I’ll be bookmarking this recipe! Thanks5 stars

  21. Made this about 10 times now as a healthy filling lunch, also served it up at a party where there was a ton of vegans and I’ve had to share a link to this website because they loved it too5 stars

  22. This is delicious, healthy and beautiful! Doesn’t get better than that.   I only had honey mustard, which works fine. Keeps well in the fridge. 5 stars

  23. Got rave reviews at Thanksgiving dinner! :) Will be making again for sure! I really do agree with the tip to get pre-cut squash because this added to my cooking time by an embarrassing 30 minutes! The instructions are really great for the recipe because as a beginner cook I found all the tips and details extremely helpful! Thank you!5 stars

  24. I love this recipe! I made it yesterday for lunch and am looking forward to the leftovers! With a quinoa base and the beautiful flavours of roasted butternut squash and cranberries, I’ll be making it often.5 stars

  25. I loved this recipe. I know all of the good things about quinoa, and am trying to eat a more vegetarian diet. I really hate the smell of cooked quinoa. However, I forged on with this recipe and it was just delicious. Happy to report it’s a winner!5 stars

  26. I have made this recipe twice now and I love it! The dressing perfectly soaks into the quinoa to make it very flavorful. I didn’t have Pepitas or other seeds around so I used celery for a crunch element. I happened to have pre-cut butternut squash around that is in a microwaveable bag. I’m sure it lacks the added flavor of roasting the squash in the maple syrup yourself but it was still delicious!5 stars

  27. Delicious salad. I swapped the cranberries for pomegranate and added equal parts butternut and delicata squash because they’re in season. Will definitely make again!5 stars

  28. I made this for Thanksgiving this year to have a lighter side and it did NOT disappoint! Everyone loved it and I will make it again long before next Thanksgiving!5 stars