Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad {Recipe}

Maple-roasted delicata squash tops cider-infused quinoa and is garnished with thyme and pomegranate seeds in this easy, yet elegant side dish that’s perfect for the holidays or any day of the week.

Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad | Maple-roasted delicata squash tops cider-infused quinoa and is garnished with thyme and pomegranate seeds in this easy, yet elegant side dish that's perfect for the holidays or any day of the week. Get the vegan and gluten-free recipe @jlevinsonrd.

I don’t know about you, but I love all the seasonal ingredients this time of year. Cranberries, pears, pomegranates, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes and winter squash…even apples, which are a staple all year round, are extra delicious in the fall and winter months. I just can’t get enough of it all. And luckily with the lengthy holiday season there are so many opportunities to cook up my favorite recipes using all these seasonal ingredients.

Take this Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad for example. Thinking back, I don’t even remember how this dish came to be, but I have been loving delicata squash and of course I love quinoa so my culinary mind went to work and alas I came up with this nutritious and delicious side dish. It’s so festive and pretty, perfect for the holiday table, but also very easy to put together, which makes it great for a weeknight side dish.

The Ingredients & Preparation

Delicata squash has become one of my favorite types of winter squash. Don’t get me wrong – I love butternut squash, acorn squash, kabocha squash, spaghetti squash, and all the rest – there are so many varieties, you get the idea. But what’s special about delicata squash is how easy it is to slice and the fact that it doesn’t need to be peeled thanks to the thin edible skin. That means I don’t have to risk cutting my hand off during prep (to prevent this from happening when you cut through a butternut or spaghetti squash check out this post from Serena at Teaspoon of Spice) and we all get more fiber in our meal from the skin of the squash.

To prep the delicata squash you cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (don’t throw them away though; I like to roast them for snacking or as a garnish, like I did here). Once you have the two clean halves of the delicata squash you can use them as boats to fill with a stuffing like a grain salad or chili, or you can slice them into half moons for roasting. The latter method is the one I use here, which leaves you with a very pretty end result since the delicata squash has naturally scalloped edges.

Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad | Maple-roasted delicata squash tops cider-infused quinoa and is garnished with thyme and pomegranate seeds in this easy, yet elegant side dish that's perfect for the holidays or any day of the week. Get the vegan and gluten-free recipe @jlevinsonrd.

There’s something about maple syrup and winter squash that go so well together. Maybe it’s the earthy flavor of both that really shines through or perhaps it’s the sweet and savory combo that I love so much. The delicata squash half moons are tossed with a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup, sprinkled with some fresh thyme, and roasted until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

What would this Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad be without a flavor-packed quinoa to go with it? Quinoa is by far my favorite grain. Again it comes down to ease – what other whole grain that’s also a complete protein is ready in 15 minutes?! You can easily make the quinoa with water or a low-sodium broth, but I had some apple cider in my fridge and thought the flavors of cider, maple, squash, and thyme would all go so well together, so I used the cider to cook the quinoa.

Whereas I normally cook quinoa with a 1:2 ratio of quinoa:liquid, after testing this recipe a few times I found that the cider didn’t absorb as well as water or broth, so I use a 1:1.25 ratio here instead. The cider-infused quinoa is packed with flavor on it’s own and a little sticky due to the natural sugars.

Once your quinoa and squash are cooked you’re ready to put everything together! If you’re serving this Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad for a holiday party I recommend setting it up on a platter as pictured here. Spread the cider-infused quinoa on a platter, top with the maple-roasted delicata squash, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, fresh thyme, and your roasted squash seeds. Voila! Now let’s eat!

Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad | Maple-roasted delicata squash tops cider-infused quinoa and is garnished with thyme and pomegranate seeds in this easy, yet elegant side dish that's perfect for the holidays or any day of the week. Get the vegan and gluten-free recipe @jlevinsonrd.

The Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad Recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
Maple-roasted delicata squash tops cider-infused quinoa and is garnished with thyme and pomegranate seeds in this easy, yet elegant side dish that's perfect for the holidays or any day of the week.
Author:
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Serves: 8
Ingredients
For the Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash:
  • Cooking spray
  • 2-2½ pounds delicata squash (about 2 medium squash)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon maple syrup, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, divided
For the Quinoa:
  • ½ cup dry quinoa (I used tri-color, but you can use any variety)
  • ⅔ cup apple cider
For Serving:
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Instructions
To make the delicata squash:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets and one small baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Cut delicata squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, reserving them for later, and cut crosswise into ¼-inch thick half moons.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add sliced delicata squash and toss to coat.
  4. Spread squash on the two large baking sheets, making sure not to overcrowd them so they can get crispy. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and half the thyme.
  5. Roast the squash for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping the squash and rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until squash is crisp and browned on the outside and tender on the inside.
  6. While the squash is cooking, toss reserved squash seeds with remaining teaspoon maple syrup and spread on the small baking sheet. Roast until crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking.
To make the quinoa:
  1. While the squash is cooking, in a small pot, combine quinoa and apple cider and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes until cider is absorbed and quinoa is cooked.
  2. Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl and set aside.
To assemble:
  1. Spread cooked quinoa on a serving platter and top with maple-roasted squash. Sprinkle with remaining thyme, pomegranate seeds, and roasted squash seeds, Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Are you a fan of all the flavors of the season?

Have you ever made delicata squash before?

Share with me in the comments section below!

Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad | Maple-roasted delicata squash tops cider-infused quinoa and is garnished with thyme and pomegranate seeds in this easy, yet elegant side dish that's perfect for the holidays or any day of the week. Get the vegan and gluten-free recipe @jlevinsonrd.

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30 Responses to Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Quinoa Salad {Recipe}


  1. Love the combination of squash, quinoa, and pomegranates! It’s so pretty too it would look great on any table.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Sarah! It’s so yummy, I hope you’ll give it a try. It is definitely a pretty holiday dish!

  2. Laura says:

    Anything with maple AND pomegranates is perfection in my book!

    • Jessica says:

      I agree Laura! Thanks!

  3. I have got to get into a delicata squash habit. I heard it’s very easy to work with compared to butternut. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Jessica says:

      You definitely need to – it’s so much easier to prep than the other squash and it’s delicious!

  4. Not only is this beautiful, but I can pretty much get behind any type of maple roasted veggie!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Natalie! I’m so with you – roasted veggies are delicious as it is. Add the maple and they’re over the top delicious!

  5. This is such a beautiful dish!! Maple and squash do go so well together and I love the poms on top too!!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Rebecca! It really is a yummy and pretty combo!

  6. Soooooo pretty! I can’t get over the delicata squash and pomegranate combo– so perfect for the season.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Julie! It’s pretty, nutritious and delicious. Oh, and easy to make. What more could you ask for?! 🙂

  7. I can’t think of a better way to have squash right now! I love all the combinations in this recipe!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Meg! Hope you give the recipe a whirl!

  8. SO pretty! This is crazy but I can’t find Delicata Squash since moving to AZ 🙁

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Anne! Oh no! That stinks. The recipe will work well with acorn squash too, if you can find it.

  9. This looks so festive. It’s perfect for the holidays!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Julie! It’s definitely a great addition to the holiday table and delicious too!

  10. That is just beautiful, all of my favorite flavors!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Lauren!

  11. Chelsey says:

    I love all of the color in this salad…looks perfect for a holiday table!!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Chelsey! Hope you get a chance to enjoy it!

  12. Diane boyd says:

    Looks amazing Jessica. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Diane! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  13. Aggie says:

    Love delicata squash and haven’t had it in the longest time! What a beautiful dish!

    • Jessica says:

      Hope you get a chance to have delicata squash again soon – and try this recipe!

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