Maple Roasted Acorn Squash and Red Quinoa Salad
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Maple Roasted Acorn Squash and Red Quinoa Salad

Before Steven and I started dating, meal-sized salads were my go-to dinner option, especially during those busy post-bacc student years. Sharing my life with someone has meant sharing my meals, and this has meant a delightful journey into more varied and creative dinners.

That said, Steven and I still enjoy a giant dinner salad at least once a week–lately, it’s been our restful Saturday night ritual. This particular salad–a maple roasted acorn squash and red quinoa salad that also features baby kale and cashew cheese–earned both Steven’s seal of approval and my own rave reviews over the weekend. It’s a big, bright, celebratory and seasonal creation, and it’s definitely a new favorite.

This is one of those salad that involves a whole bunch of components, and so it looks a little intimidating at first. Rest assured, though, that the cashew cheese is optional, and also that it and the maple roasted acorn squash rings can be prepared ahead of time (when I construct a big salad, I’ll often prep one component in advance). If you do serve the whole thing as suggested, I promise that the flavor payoff is huge.

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash and Red Quinoa Salad

The sweet, maple glazed squash rings, by the way? SO good. I’ll probably make them again in the future as a side dish, on their own!

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash and Red Quinoa Salad with Baby Kale and Cashew Cheese // Choosing Raw

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Maple Roasted Acorn Squash and Red Quinoa Salad with Baby Kale, and Cashew Cheese

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4


For the maple roasted acorn squash:

  • 2 small or medium sized acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, such as refined avocado or grapeseed
  • Salt and pepper

For the vinaigrette:

For the salad:

  • 5 cups baby kale or baby spinach
  • 2 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup go-to cashew cheese
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 375F. Line the acorn squash rings up on a foil lined or well oiled baking sheet. Whisk together the maple syrup and oil. Use a basting brush to lightly coat the rings with the oil and syrup on both sides, and then sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the rings are quite golden. Allow rings to cool.
  • While rings are cooking, prepare cashew cheese, if using, and whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients.
  • To serve, toss the greens and quinoa together with the dressing. Arrange the acorn squash slices over everything. Sprinkle the pomegranate arils over the salad, then dot it with heaping teaspoons of cashew cheese. Serve.

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash and Red Quinoa Salad

This salad has it all: texture, flavor, visual appeal. The salad would be a really nice option for holiday tables.

Tomorrow: a fabulous snack recipe, and a cool announcement. Stay tuned!


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Categories: Recipes, Salads
Method: Oven, Stovetop
Ingredients: Cashew Nuts, Quinoa
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Holidays

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Recipe Rating

  1. Mmmm this salad sounds so good! I tend to make simple salads and they get a little boring, it’s always nice to see some fun & more complicated ones with a more delicious outcome =)

  2. This looks delicious and I’m always looking for new ways to use tamarind paste, so thank you for this idea!

  3. All of that looks delicious! I love the little flavor details in this dish. I bet it would also taste great with a handful of arugula thrown in!

  4. Wow! That looks so delicious! I love the shape of the squash and the combination of quinoa and pomegranate seeds! Inspiring!

  5. Looks delicious. I recently roasted acorn squash with maple syrup and red pepper chili flakes, but just served it as a side. It was great.