Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad Recipe

Meghan Yager | Cake 'n Knife

Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad is a rich and hearty salad to serve up at any gathering you have this fall season. With a variety of textures and ingredients, this intensely flavorful side dish pairs well with almost everything, from steak to turkey to pork. You won’t find a better celebration of harvest flavors anywhere!


I made a salad!

Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad Photo

Yes, me, the girl who doesn’t eat salad actually made a salad with a ton of harvest flavors that everyone won’t be able to resist eating.

Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad Picture

The inspiration for this salad actually came from a friend who is a master of salads. She makes salads with interesting flavor combinations, gorgeous dressings, and so many colors that I actually CRAVE a bowl of healthy food on a regular basis.

Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad Image

Well, she happened to bust out a giant quinoa salad a few weeks ago and WOW. How have I not made salads with grains all my life?

Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad Pic

This is the salad that even non salad-lovers will love. There’s so many goodies hidden in every bite, you’ll get something different with every forkful you shove in your mouth.

File 1 Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad

The quinoa (I chose tri-color for the variety, but you can use your favorite kind) gives a great texture that is more than just layer after layer of greens. Then you mix in crispy bacon, bacon-sautéed kale, dried cranberries, roasted pistachios, rich roasted acorn squash, and creamy avocado for an unbelievably hearty side dish.

File 2 Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad

The cranberry apple vinaigrette that you top it all off with is just the finishing touch that brings it all together with a little added citrus and tang.

File 3 Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad

I honestly can’t wait to serve up this salad at Thanksgiving dinner this year. It is the ultimate celebration of all the harvest flavors, and it’s just the right side dish for turkey. Or steak. Or pork. Or lamb. Or chicken.

Do you see how amazing this side salad is now?

File 4 Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad

Go ahead, you have my permission to lick the screen and pin this bad boy for Thanksgiving!

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Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad Recipe

    6 Servings


  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 Acorn Squash, halved, seeded and cut into half circles
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 6 slices Bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 1/2 cups Roughly Chopped Kale
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Pistachios, shells removed
  • 1 Avocado, sliced
For the Vinaigrette:
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 Shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons Apple Juice
  • 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  3. On a baking sheet, toss together the squash, olive oil, cinnamon, cayenne. salt, and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through cooking until the squash is tender.
  4. While the squash is cooking, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Add kale to the skillet with the bacon fat and cook until tender and lightly cooked, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the warm quinoa, roasted squash, bacon fat kale, bacon, cranberries and pistachios. Gently toss to combine.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil for the vinaigrette in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and sauté until tender, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Then add cranberries, apple juice, red wine vinegar, honey, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  7. Top the quinoa with avocado and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with sliced avocado. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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Related Recipes:
Avocado Recipes, Salad Recipes, Quinoa Recipes, Fall Recipes, Bacon Recipes, Cranberry Recipes, Kale Recipes, Thanksgiving Recipes, Holiday Recipes
Recipe Yields:
6 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Meghan Yager
Recipe Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 197
Calories 483

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g
  Saturated Fat 3g
Sodium 405mg
Total Carbohydrate 56g
  Dietary Fiber 8g
  Sugars 18g
Protein 10g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Meghan Yager

About Meghan

Meghan is a girl that's passionate about food - straightforward food that anyone can love. It's what you'll find on her blog, Cake n' Knife. There's not much food more straightforwardly delicious than an avocado, that's why Meghan is our avocado fanatic.

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