Cranberry, Quinoa, and Butternut Squash Salad

If you are looking for a wicked easy Thanksgiving side dish, or even just a healthy, seasonal vegetarian lunch. then this little mix of dried cranberries, quinoa, and butternut squash is for you. In an effort to be slightly healthier and order less takeaway (We are failing.), I have been trying to put together a handful of simple ingredients to make dinners that turn into lunch leftovers.

dried cranberries

This very simple dish starts with quinoa, cooked according to the package instructions, while chunks of butternut squash are roasting in the oven.

maple syrup

The dressing is a mix of apple cider, a tiny bit of maple syrup, olive oil,  and hot paprika. It sounds a little weird, but it reminds me of this harvest salad I made many moons ago. For this quinoa recipe, I made just enough dressing so that the quinoa wasn’t dry and there was some nice flavor. I mix everything to taste; it’s the only way to get a recipe just perfect for you!

butternut squash, quinoa, cranberries

Once the quinoa and butternut squash are done, mix in the dried cranberries and dressing. Mixing the cranberries into a warm quinoa softens and plumps them up a bit, making for a nice texture. The final step for this salad, once it’s at room temperature, is to crumble in some goat or feta cheese, depending on your preference. There you have yourself a delicious and nutritious side dish, lunch or light dinner.

butternut squash, quinoa, cranberries

I know it’s not very exciting, and definitely not an exact science, but it’s meals like this that I create on the fly that keep me from giving up on cooking entirely when I would much rather call for a pizza.

What are some of your favorite on-the-fly easy meals?

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Tags: butternut squash, recipe, side dish, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian, vegetarian recipes

  1. Megan’s avatar

    Looks like perfect fall comfort food!


  2. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    Some of my favorite flavors in this salad! I’ve been making similar quinoa salads for easy lunches at the office or at home!


  3. Colleen @ Culinary Colleen’s avatar

    I’ve also been ordering way too much takeout…this is a great dinner idea!


  4. Amanda Hurley’s avatar

    I’m having my neighbors over this Sunday for a help yourself brunch. I’m going to TOTALLY use this as a dish.


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