This roasted pumpkin quinoa salad combines all the fall flavours with pumpkin, spice and the best pop of sweetness from pomegranate seeds. Easy to make, it's a delicious fall lunch or light dinner!
Have a peek at my roasted pumpkin and cauliflower soup for another fun and very cozy lunch recipe idea!
Come late summer and fall, all things pumpkin are such a favorite in my home! While sweet dishes are so fun, I think you'll love this roast pumpkin and quinoa salad as a savory seasonal lunch or light dinner. It combines healthy vegetables, plant-based protein from quinoa and a good crunch from nuts and seeds.
⭐ Why this recipe is so good
Fall flavors. We use paprika to flavor the pumpkin and ginger in the dressing for a very tasty pumpkin and quinoa salad that feels so perfect for the season!
Versatile. You can easily swap out the nuts or seeds to those you prefer, or serve as a warm pumpkin quinoa bowl rather than a cold dish.
Easy steps. No complicated steps here, all simple!
All the ingredients and their quantities are set out in the recipe card below.
Some notes on a few of them:
- Pumpkin - choose fresh produce, without bruising or wrinkles. I use traditional pumpkin, but you can also use squash for this recipe.
- Quinoa - I suggest to use white quinoa, but you can also use a quinoa blend.
- Sweet paprika - this flavors the pumpkin. I like the Szeged sweet paprika.
- Pumpkin seeds and pistachios - you want to use unsalted nuts and seeds, and those that have not been roasted or have added flavouring.
📖 Swaps and variations
Swap pumpkin for squash. The salad will be delicious with other forms of squash such as butternut squash or gem squash.
Swap parsley for cilantro. Both work so well as fresh and light flavours for the salad.
Add cheese. If it works for you, then a little cheese such as creamy mozzarella or goat cheese would be a nice addition.
Add more toppings! Love a nice sweetness? Top the pumpkin salad with an extra sprinkle of pomegranate seeds. All about the crunch of nuts and seeds? More pumpkin seeds and pistachios will make it a heartier dish!
🔪 Step by step instructions
Just a few steps to make this fall pumpkin quinoa salad, and all are easy to do:
Roast the pumpkin. Peel the pumpkin, then dice into bite-size pieces. Scatter on your baking tray in an even layer and drizzle with olive oil. Then sprinkle with sweet paprika, salt and black pepper (image 1).
Cook the quinoa. Add to a pot and cook according to packet instructions (image 2). It typically takes 12-15 minutes to cook quinoa.
Dry toast the pumpkin seeds. Add the seeds to a dry skillet (without oil) and cook on a gentle heat until they start to very slightly brown and pop (image 3).
Combine the salad ingredients. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine (image 4). Drizzle the dressing over the roast pumpkin quinoa salad, and add any extra toppings you like. Serve and enjoy!
💭 Recipe tips and notes
- Peeling or not peeling the pumpkin (or squash) is to personal choice. I prefer to peel, but it isn't necessary if you like the skin on.
- Make sure the quinoa has cooked such that it has turned from a hard seed to a softer seed with the 'tails' out.
- Be sure to use unsalted nuts and seeds, as that wouldn't likely taste too good!
- Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan, so without any oil.
📋 Frequently asked questions
Quinoa is technically a seed, and an ancient grain most often produced in Bolivia and Peru. As Healthline describes in their overview of quinoa, it is often termed a 'pseudo-grain' as it can be used in a similar way to cereal grains. Quinoa is a complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids.
Personally I find that peeling the pumpkin before roasting makes for a 'softer' taste and texture. Pumpkin has a tougher skin than other squashes, and it feels lighter for a salad to peel it first.
This pumpkin salad can be served either as a warm salad or as a cold salad.
Quinoa is gluten free, making this salad suitable for those with this dietary requirement.
🍽 How to serve pumpkin salad
- Serve with homemade pita chips for a nice crunch, or even my quinoa crackers for even more healthy seeds!
- Soup and salad is always lovely for a healthy lunch. Have a peek at my parsnip ginger soup or my cauliflower and parsnip soup for fall flavors!
- Add a vegetable side for even more goodness, with my simple air fried Brussels sprouts or my air fried cauliflower steaks both quick options.
🥣 More fun fall recipes
Pumpkin Quinoa Salad
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 390F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Once the oven is to temperature add the pumpkin to the baking tray, drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle over the sweet paprika, salt and black pepper. Toss so that the pumpkin is evenly coated. Roast the pumpkin for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions.
- Dry toast the pumpkin seeds by adding to a dry skillet (without oil) and frying on a low heat until they start to very slightly brown and pop, about 4-5 minutes. Toss occasionally to prevent burning.
- Make the dressing by combining the ingredients, and stirring well. Taste test and adjust to preference.
- Combine all the ingredients in your serving bowl and drizzle on the dressing. Top with a little more herbs or pomegranate if you like, then serve immediately and enjoy!
- It is to personal preference whether you peel the pumpkin or not. Personally I tend to at times, but not others.
- Other forms of squash such as butternut squash can be used as a swap for pumpkin.
- Dry toast the pumpkin seeds, so without any oil.
- Be sure to use unsalted nuts and seeds.
- If you like a sweeter dressing, add a touch of maple syrup.
- Please note that nutritional information is offered as a courtesy. It is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
- arugula isn't scored on the SIGHI food list. Use a different salad leaf if you prefer.
- black pepper, which scores 2.
- pumpkin rates as low histamine on the SIGHI list, but as high histamine on some other lists.
- apple cider vinegar, garlic and ginger, which score 1.