Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad with Feta and Pecans - Rancho La Puerta
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Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad with Feta and Pecans

This delicious butternut squash and quinoa salad was featured at a hands-on cooking class taught at our cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta, with renowned guest chef, Joan Nathan.  Perfect for chilly winter days, this warm salad is bursting with flavor. The ingredients give the recipe the heartiness it needs to be served as a healthy dinner for two, or served as a side dish at dinner parties.

Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ butternut squash peeled and cut in ½-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked red or black quinoa
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • ½ cup toasted pecans
  • 1 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese, or to taste

Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on a baking tray.  Arrange the squash on the tray, coat with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt and pepper, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until tender and slightly browned. Be sure not to overcrowd the squash and use two baking sheets if necessary.
  2. Warm a small skillet over medium heat and toast the quinoa, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the quinoa smells nutty. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. When the water is boiling, add the quinoa and a large pinch of salt. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is al dente and a light, spiral-like thread appears around each grain. Drain the quinoa and put in a large bowl, then gently fluff with a fork.
  3. Put the quinoa in the bottom of an attractive bowl, then layer with the butternut squash. Sprinkle the scallions, pecans, mint, cilantro, and feta over the quinoa and squash. Just before serving, gently toss the ingredients to combine, sprinkle with more salt and black pepper to taste, and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over all.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings of a delicious butternut squash and quinoa salad!


You can substitute sliced, dried apricots for the butternut squash and add Swiss chard or spinach cut using the chiffonade technique.

Do you love this butternut squash and quinoa salad? Our Fitness Resort and Spa offers farm-to-table cooking classes at La Cocina Que Canta Culinary Center. It’s the perfect way to nourish your mind, body, and spirit while on a wellness retreat. For more information and registration, please click here.