Very few dishes strike the perfect balance between health and flavor quite like this arugula quinoa salad. A recipe that is a heavenly blend of peppery arugula, nutty quinoa, and a combination of multi-colored ingredients like roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and cranberries.
If you’ve never thought of mixing roasted sweet squash with cooked grains and dark leafy greens, you’re in for a treat! You’ll be dazzled by the bright colors and varying textures from the very first bite. And the silky smooth tahini cashew garlic dressing is packed with an entire bunch of parsley and other whole foods that boost both the nutrition and flavor. This is a first-class recipe for food prep, especially if there’s a holiday party, Thanksgiving dinner, or other festive celebration on the horizon.
Are you ready to assemble the most sensational savory vegan salad you’ve ever made? Let’s rock, roast, and roll!
Who ever said that salads are boring? Salads like this are not only incredibly healthy and filled with fiber, but also serve many purposes. You can offer a salad as a first course, side dish, or even a full lunch (with a lot of leftovers!). Here are even more reasons why you need to try this first-rate recipe:
While it might seem like this recipe has a lot going on, they’re all super simple to prepare. You can make some of the parts a day or two before. If you’re pressed for time, buy frozen, cooked quinoa and just heat it up when it’s time to make the salad. These star ingredients make this recipe sparkle!
Arugula: Although this little leafy green is a little bitter, it also has the best tart and peppery bite. If you’re not a fan of arugula, you can substitute baby kale, watercress, dandelion greens, frisee, or even baby spinach.
Quinoa: This tasty grain-like seed is a wonderful edition to this salad. It’s light, fluffy, and flavorful. Even a half cup gives you an additional 4 grams of protein for the day.
Butternut Squash: Any squash will work in this salad, but butternut squash is particularly yummy. It is most similar in flavor and texture to a sweet potato. If you can’t get your hands on a butternut squash, try using a delicata or acorn squash. A sugar pumpkin would also work well.
Brussels Sprouts: A love-it-or-hate-it veggie for sure. We love using these rounded wonders when roasting, but feel free to substitute for broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage.
Dried Cranberries: These little ruby jeweled fruit are fabulous in salads! They add a sweet and tart combination that is totally addictive. Cranberries are also a good source of vitamin C. If you don’t have any dried cranberries on hand, you can always use dried currants, tart cherries, or raspberries.
Pumpkin Seeds: Savory and nutty, these little nuggets lend an awesome crunchy addition to any salad. If you haven’t already made your own, make sure to try out our Sweet Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe! Other tantalizing nut and seed options include sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and pistachios.
The best approach to storing any leftover quinoa arugula salad is to separate the ingredients by type before combining into one large salad. This way, any remaining ingredient can be stored in its own container and stay fresher longer. Also, you’re able to freeze any specific ingredient, if desired.
Store the cooked veggies together, the fresh greens in a separate container, as well as the quinoa and toppings. You may wish to use different toppings in your next salad meal, such as nuts, dried fruit, and/or dressing. Use a small glass mason jar or any jar with a tight lid for any creamy dressing that’s left over.
Any of these recipe ingredients (except the dressing) may be safely frozen for up to 3 months. Even the nuts and dried fruit can be placed in the freezer. Although greens can be frozen from fresh, we do recommend using fresh leafy greens if you are planning to make another salad.
Crafting a savory salad is fun, as well as creative. If you’re not a huge butternut squash or brussels sprouts fan, feel free to swap out these ingredients for family favorites. Though, we’re pretty confident that you’ll actually love how these roasted veggies taste in this salad. Here are some favorite swaps and recipe suggestions:
Feel free to only use one of these roasted veggies in the salad…or, if you prefer, use an entirely different cooked veggie with the quinoa. This recipe is completely customizable to your taste!
You can use fresh cranberries, but they will be very tart. Dried cranberries are very sweet, so they balance out the savory dressing in this dish. A better option (other than dried) is to use a scoop of homemade cranberry sauce or jarred cranberry sauce instead.
Yes! Any cooked grain would work well in this recipe, including steamed rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, polenta, or kamut.