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Roasted Squash and Quinoa Salad with Chile Lime Vinaigrette

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

A hearty, flavorful dish for the cooler fall weather: this is my go-to quinoa salad with roasted butternut squash, white beans, toasted pumpkin seeds, and cilantro, all mixed in a spicy lime vinaigrette. You can save the seeds from the squash to use as a garnish, and feel free to sub out the cilantro for fresh parsley. The bright, citrusy element of the dressing compliments the filling, richness of the squash and beans, which also helps to lighten up this healthy, whole grain, whole veggie meal. This recipe is featured as a Test Kitchen Approved dish on Food52! Serves 4 people.


  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

  • 2 limes, reserve the zest from one, both juiced

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp canola oil

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled, seeded butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 cup red quinoa

  • 2 cups water

  • 15 ounces cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped


  1. For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, combine the shallot, garlic, jalapeño, lime zest and juice, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and red pepper.

  2. Gradually whisk in the olive and canola oil in a slow steady stream until combined. Taste for seasoning, and set aside until ready to dress the salad.

  3. Set the oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, combine the pumpkin seeds with half a tablespoon of olive oil and the paprika in one even layer. Toast for 8 minutes in the oven, or until browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.

  4. Turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees, and on the same baking sheet, combine the butternut squash and canola oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway through to evenly brown and caramelize. Set aside to cool.

  5. While the squash is roasting, in a saucepan over medium heat, toast the quinoa, stirring often, for 2 minutes, or until the grains are aromatic. Add the water and a pinch of salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.

  6. Add the squash, beans, half of the pumpkin seeds, and half of the cilantro to the quinoa. Drizzle with the lime dressing and toss gently. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining pumpkin seeds and cilantro, then serve.

Photo courtesy of Food52.

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