Winter quinoa salad

Quinoa salad 6

This beautiful and nutritious salad will brighten up any dark, dreary day. I know you are probably saying salads are for Summer but the ingredients in this recipe are available all year round in our supermarkets so there is no reason not to give it a go to brighten up any day –  you will be so glad and your body will thank you for it. You will know from a previous recipe that I am a big fan of quinoa not just because it is quick and easy to make, but also because it is a super healthy source of (plant-based) protein and a slow release energy sustaining food (i.e. keeps you full for longer!).  It also keeps and travels well so very handy for making wonderful healthy lunches to bring to work and also for using up leftovers such as cooked chicken or roasted vegetables. Beats a ham sandwich any day!

The recipe includes roasted chickpeas which I have just discovered and are a bit like healthy croutons in this salad as they add texture, crunch and flavour and are also really good for you. (The roasted chickpeas are make a delicious snack on their own, create your own flavours!). They can be roasted in the oven at the same time as the butternut squash but of course you can use them straight from the tin if you want. This recipe will make two very generous lunch portions and will keep well in the fridge for a day or two, without the dressing.


Butternut squash roasted (see below)
Chickpeas roasted (see below)
100g quinoa
½ cucumber
Pomegranate seeds
Cherry tomatoes
Baby spinach leaves (or salad leaves)
Pine nuts (roasted)
Fresh herbs e.g. coriander

1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey


  • Roast the butternut squash and the chickpeas according to the instructions below – they can be done in the oven together and then the pine nuts can be roasted for 5 minutes at the end.
  • Put the quinoa on to cook according to the instructions on the packet – usually takes about 15 mins.
  • Halve the cucumber lengthways and scoop out the seeds, then slice into half-moon shapes. You can leave the skin on or take it off if you prefer.
  • Cut the tomatoes into halves
  • Halve the pomegranate and using a large spoon, tap the skin to release the kernels (mind your clothes!)
  • Toss the cooked quinoa, butternut squash, chickpeas, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and baby spinach leaves together in a large bowl.
  • Put it into a bowl or plate and then sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and fresh herbs.
  • Serve with the dressing on the side.

Roasted Butternut Squash
1 small butternut squash (deseeded & cut into cubes)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

  • Place the butternut cubes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season well and roast for 25 minutes @ 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the garlic and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until soft.

Roasted Chickpeas
1 small 225g can chickpeas
1 tbspn olive oil
½ tspn salt
½ to 1 tspn of smoked paprika (or spice of your choice e.g. chilli or curry powder or chopped rosemary & lemon zest)

  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas under cold running water.
  • Pat them dry with kitchen paper
  • Toss them with olive oil and salt and spread on a baking tray
  • Roast in the oven for 30/40 minutes until slightly darkened, dry and crispy (soft in the middle)
  • Remove from the oven and toss in the smoked paprika
  • Serve while still warm (they lose their crispness over time)






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