This comforting pumpkin quinoa salad is a simple, nutritious, and delicious side dish. Just how I like it! It happens to be vegan, too, so everyone can enjoy it.
With a warm pumpkin flavor and healthy veggies, it’s a perfect side dish for fall or Thanksgiving dinner. The spices and an optional sprinkle of goat/feta cheese make it even more flavorful!
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Easy Quinoa Side Dish with Pumpkin
This pumpkin quinoa side dish is a flexible fall-themed recipe. It goes great with chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, etc.
Or, if serving it on its own, top with some beans or cooked chicken to make a balanced meal! It would make a great portable lunch.
This recipe is super easy to make, and really only requires a few simple ingredients. Aside from the veggies (which can be swapped out for whatever you have on hand!), you can probably find everything you need in your pantry.
To make this fall quinoa salad, you’ll need:
- canned pumpkin (Be sure to get plain canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. Or you can always roast and puree fresh pumpkin yourself, if you’d rather!)
- bok choy
- olive oil
- garlic powder
Feel free to swap out the asparagus and bok choy for any veggies you have on hand. This would also be great with canned butternut squash instead of pumpkin, if you have it!
How to Make a Pumpkin Quinoa Salad
Start by cooking your quinoa (see instructions in section below).
While the quinoa is cooking, cut up your vegetables (in this case, asparagus and bok choy). Saute over medium heat on the stovetop with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of garlic powder.
Cook until veggies are just soft – usually a few minutes. Don’t overcook them at this step, or they might get soggy!
Reduce heat to low, then add your cooked quinoa. Mix well.
Then, stir in the water and canned pumpkin. Add in the remaining garlic powder and the coriander.
Stir well until heated through, then add salt and pepper to taste.
For optional garnish and extra flavor, top with parsley and goat cheese or feta (if not vegan)!
How to Cook Quinoa
Quinoa is cooked a lot like rice. These simple steps will help you make perfect, fluffy quinoa every time!
Step 1. Rinse the quinoa in water for at least 30 seconds. This removes its saponin coating. Because quinoa is a very fine seed, it works best to use a fine mesh strainer.
Step 2. Combine quinoa and water in a small saucepan, using a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water (1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it starts boiling, decrease to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed. For more flavor, try cooking quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth.
Step 3. Cover the pot, remove it from the heat source, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and season (if desired). Your quinoa is now ready to be added to your favorite dish or eaten as is!
For more on quinoa, check out my post: Quinoa 101 (How to Cook Quinoa).
How to Puree Pumpkin
You can easily make your own pumpkin puree at home! Start with a small baking pumpkin, also known as a ‘sugar pumpkin’ or ‘pie pumpkin’. It should be between 2-6 pounds.
Next, slice the pumpkin almost in half, without slicing through the stem. Pull the pumpkin apart, holding either side, and it should split at the stem. Scoop out any seeds and stringy parts with a large spoon.
Spray or drizzle a little olive oil on a parchment-paper or foil-lined baking pan. Then, place each half cut-side down on top.
Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to 1 hour – depending on the size of the pumpkin – until soft. (You should be able to easily pierce the skin with a fork).
Lastly, once the roasted pumpkin is cool enough to handle, place in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Voila!
Main Dishes to Serve This With
This quinoa dish would be amazing with tons of mains. Here are some ideas:
- Crockpot Balsamic Chicken
- Instant Pot Pork Roast
- Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Feta
- Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Pomegranate Glaze
- Instant Pot Chicken Thighs with Maple Mustard Sauce
- Baked Salmon with Lemon
Mmm. This is a great dish to meal prep and eat throughout the week for quick lunches and dinners. Don’t forget the coriander — it makes this dish!
You’ll find the full pumpkin quinoa salad recipe at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
Looking for more delicious quinoa recipes & side dishes? Check these out:
- “Cheesy” Vegan Mushroom Quinoa
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa Taco Salad
- Vegan Cranberry Quinoa Salad
- Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Quinoa Bars
- Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice
- Berry Lemon Quinoa Breakfast Bake
- Mediterranean Green Tea Quinoa Salad
- Coconut Breakfast Quinoa
- 1 C cooked quinoa (I used red; regular is fine)
- 1 baby bok choy, chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
- Olive oil
- 3/4 tsp. garlic powder (divided)
- 3/4 C water
- 1 C pumpkin
- 3/4 tsp. coriander
- Salt & cracked pepper to taste
- optional: parsley and feta cheese (if not vegan), for garnish
- Start by cooking your quinoa as directed on the package.
- While the quinoa is cooking, saute your veggies! I sauteed the bok choy and asparagus on medium heat in a drizzle of olive oil and 1/4 tsp. of garlic powder. Continue to saute until the veggies are soft (only takes a few minutes).
- Reduce the heat to low, then add in your cooked quinoa!
- Mix it all up, then add in the water and the pumpkin.
- Finally, add in the remaining garlic powder (1/2 tsp.) and the 3/4 tsp. coriander. Stir it all up and makes sure it’s heated through, then add salt and cracked pepper to taste. Top with parsley and feta cheese, if desired.