Warm Quinoa, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Easy Maple Candied Pecans

This easy Warm Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Kale and homemade Maple Candied Pecans is a feast for eyes and belly! Serve it as a meatless main or a stunning vegetarian side dish for Thanksgiving! 

A festive warm quinoa salad with butternut squash, candied pecans, kale and cranberries on a white plate

This Warm Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Kale & Maple Candied Pecans is packed with protein & fiber!

If I didn’t have about a million things to do right now, I swear I could spend hours looking at this warm quinoa salad! Isn’t it the prettiest?!

I particularly love red ingredients, like cranberry or pomegranate. They look like precious stones and make me want to dig right into this nutritious fall-inspired salad!

Is it just a food nerd thing, staring and admiring food? Alright, it probably is but I’ve given up a long time ago on being normal so just ignore me and please, make this warm quinoa salad!

Not only does it look super impressive, but it is also nourishing and filling, packed with vitamins and fiber to fuel you on a cold fall or winter day!

This easy salad recipe would be perfect for your holiday gatherings (hello fancy but easy!) or anytime during fall or winter really! Leftover warm quinoa salad is perfect for packed lunches, so be a wise meal prepper and make a huge batch!

overhead shot of a plate of warm quinoa salad with butternut squash, candied pecans, kale and cranberries

If you tried this Warm Quinoa Salad, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

Warm Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Kale and Maple Candied Pecans
5 from 2 votes
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Warm Quinoa, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Easy Maple Candied Pecans

This easy Warm Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Kale and homemade Maple Candied Pecans is a feast for eyes and belly! Serve it as a meatless main or a stunning vegetarian side dish for Thanksgiving! 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword butternut squash salad, clean eating, filling salad recipes, healthy salad recipes, kale salad, maple candied pecans, meal prep ideas, quinoa salad, whole food recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Calories 562 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa or 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash I used the pre-cut ones to save time
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 to 3 cups kale packed, stems removed, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped

Candied pecans

  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice from about 1-2 oranges
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. If you don't have cooked quinoa, start with that. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least 2 minutes. Drain. Rinsing quinoa before cooking will remove its natural bitter or soapy taste. 

  2. Transfer to a saucepan, cover with stock, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes on the lowest setting. Turn off the heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside. (This will make a little bit more cooked quinoa than what you will need for the salad).

  3. Prepare the candied pecans. Prepare a sheet of baking paper on your kitchen counter. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the pecans in a single layer and toast until fragrant. Always keep an eye on the pecans because they can burn very quickly. 
  4. When the pecans are toasted, add the maple syrup and a pinch of salt, and stir to coat the pecans. Cook for an additional 30 to 45 seconds, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn't burn. Spread the pecans on the prepared baking sheet and let cool.

  5. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add butternut squash and paprika. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Stir to cover the squash with the spice. Cook on medium heat until brown on the outside and soft on the inside, about 10 minutes. 

  6. When they are almost ready, stir in maple syrup and finish cooking. From now on, stir gently to make sure the squash doesn't end up mashed.

  7. Add kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add 3 cups of cooked quinoa, stir and cook until warm.
  9. Turn off the heat and add dried cranberries, red onion and candied pecans.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice and olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Drizzle over warm salad, toss and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

If making this salad ahead, add the dressing at the last minute. Quinoa will soak up all the moisture.

Nutrition Facts
Warm Quinoa, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Easy Maple Candied Pecans
Amount Per Serving (1 /4th)
Calories 562 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 34%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Sodium 9mg 0%
Potassium 878mg 25%
Total Carbohydrates 83g 28%
Dietary Fiber 9g 36%
Sugars 25g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 228.8%
Vitamin C 36.1%
Calcium 10.4%
Iron 24.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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posted in
Clean Eating Dairy Free Fall Recipes Gluten free Holidays Main Dishes Recipes Side dishes Vegan Vegetarian Winter Recipes
5 Comments
  1. What’s not to love about this stunning superfood bowl? The Maple Candied Pecans really take this one to the next level! I love me some crunch on a salad those would go so well with the maple roasted butternut squash!

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