So many beautiful flavors of fall come together in this loaded Autumn harvest salad with quinoa, including sweet apples, roasted butternut squash, crunchy pumpkin seeds and almonds, tart dried cranberries, and creamy goat cheese.
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The temperatures may be dropping, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy delicious and vibrant salads. Try this loaded Autumn harvest salad with quinoa that celebrates all the beautiful flavors of Fall while satisfying your hunger.
I love how all the flavors of this salad come together to give you an explosion of different tastes, textures and colors, making this a salad you will actually enjoy eating.
Spinach and arugula make up the base for this salad, but quinoa is also added for an extra boost of fiber and protein. This means this salad keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
Everything is topped with a delicious, sweet and tangy maple mustard vinaigrette that takes seconds to make.
This salad is healthy and satiating, packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, it’s easy to make and great for lunch, dinner, as an appetizer or for meal prep.
Arugula: arugula adds a nice peppery bite, which compliments the sweet flavors in this salad.
Spinach: spinach is the perfect base for this salad and also balances out the peppery arugula.
Quinoa: quinoa adds satiating fiber and protein and will keep you fuller for longer.
Apples: use apples you love to snack on. I love Honey Crisp or Pink Lady apples in this salad.
Butternut squash: air fried or oven roasted until golden and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Pumpkin seeds: pumpkin seeds add healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals and a nice crunch.
Almonds: for extra healthy fats, flavor and crunch.
Dried cranberries: dried cranberries add great texture and tart flavor.
Red onion: to add a bit of zesty bite to the salad. Don’t worry, they are finely chopped for this salad so they aren’t overpowering.
Goat cheese: goat cheese adds a creamy and slightly tangy flavor and is so delicious paired with apples and dried cranberries.
Salad Dressing Ingredients
Olive oil: try to use a high quality extra virgin olive oil. It makes all the difference!
Apple cider vinegar: perfect vinegar for this dressing to compliment the flavors in this salad.
Maple syrup: using maple syrup as the sweetener in this dressing to keep with the fall theme.
Dijon mustard: love the flavor of maple syrup and dijon mustard together in salad dressing.
Spices: thyme, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Cook the butternut squash
Oven: Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add diced butternut squash, spray with oil and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Air Fryer: Add diced butternut squash to the air fryer basket, spray with oil and air fry at 375°F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway.
Make the salad dressing
In a mason jar or other similar sealable container, add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and thyme.
Seal lid tightly and shake vigorously to combine ingredients.
Assemble the salad
In a large serving bowl, add spinach, arugula, cooked quinoa, almonds, pumpkin seeds, red onion and dried cranberries. Toss salad ingredients and top with roasted butternut squash, apples and goat cheese.
When ready to serve, pour over dressing. Alternatively, allow guests to add their own dressing.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds and almond slices to release extra nutty aroma and flavor.
- Cut the butternut squash and apple into the same sized bite-sized pieces to ensure you can get everything in one bite.
- Allow the butternut squash and quinoa to cool completely before adding to the salad.
- Use a fork to easily crumble the goat cheese into the salad. Sometimes the warmth from using your hands will prevent the cheese from crumbling.
- To save time, prep the quinoa, butternut squash and salad dressing in advance and assemble the salad when ready to serve.
How do I store leftover salad?
Store undressed leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How do I store leftover salad dressing?
Store leftover salad dressing in a sealed mason jar or similar container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Can I meal prep this salad?
I recommend assembling the spinach, arugula, cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, almonds and red onion and storing together in air tight containers in the refrigerator. Make and store the salad dressing separately.
When ready to eat, add apples and salad dressing and toss. Alternatively, you can add apples ahead of time if you dunk them in a lemon water solution (1 tablespoon lemon juice to 1 cup water) first, to prevent browning.
Substitutions and variations
Spinach/arugula: try massaged kale or mixed greens instead of spinach.
Quinoa: if you don’t have quinoa, wild rice, farro or barley would also work.
Goat cheese: feta would also be delicious instead of goat cheese.
Butternut Squash: air fried or roasted sweet potato can be used in place of the butternut squash.
Almonds: chopped walnuts or pecans would be a great substitute for sliced almonds.
Dried cranberries: if you don’t like dried cranberries, you can use raisins instead or omit.
Vegan: omit the goat cheese or use a vegan substitute.
Additional protein: add shredded chicken or chickpeas for added protein and satiating power.
More Fall Recipes
- Pear and Brie Flatbread
- Healthy Apple Pie Smoothie
- Sheet Pan Maple Mustard Chicken
- The Best Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Autumn Chicken Salad
As always, if you make this Autumn harvest salad with quinoa recipe please let me know by leaving a comment/rating below. If you take a picture, tag me on Instagram @thechowdown. I love seeing your recreations!
Autumn Harvest Salad with Quinoa
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 3 cups spinach
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
- 1 large apple diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup goat cheese crumbled
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup red onion minced
Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- Cook the butternut squashOven instructions: Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add diced butternut squash, spray with oil and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Air Fryer instructions: Add diced butternut squash to the air fryer basket, spray with oil and air fry at 375°F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Make the salad dressing: In a mason jar or other similar sealable container, add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and thyme. Seal lid tightly and shake vigorously to combine ingredients.
- Assemble the salad: In a large serving bowl, add spinach, arugula, cooked quinoa, almonds, pumpkin seeds, red onion and dried cranberries. Toss salad ingredients and top with roasted butternut squash, apples and goat cheese.
- Serve: When ready to serve, pour over dressing. Alternatively, allow guests to add their own dressing.