Vegan fall salad with acorn, squash, quinoa, cranberries, and pistachios. Tons of fresh crisp fall flavors all fusing together. Tossed with a zesty lemon mustard dressing. Perfect for a meatless meal.
D and I only have one month left at home before we set off on our next travel adventure. This time around the focus is on US travel. We’re heading out on a 5 month long US road trip. We’re planning on heading South to Florida from Massachusetts, then crossing the entire Southern US (with a family reunion planned in New Orleans), before hitting California and taking Route 1 all way up the western coast. Our farthest northern point will be Vancouver before we head south and cross off the central states – Colorado, etc to make our way back up to Massachusetts. The Northern layer of States (Montana, Minnesota), will have to wait for another trip – preferably a summer one.
To my parents’ disappointment we’ll be missing out on Thanksgiving with the family this year, so I decided to set things right by offering to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with them instead of the standard American one this year. Sounds like a great compromise right? If not present for a proper Thanksgiving, best to celebrate the Thanksgiving of on of our neighbor nations right?
And that conveniently happens to fall on a US holiday as well – Columbus Day, aka tomorrow. So the Thanksgiving recipe prep had to start early this year. The other menu items will include a cauliflower mash, turkey of course, and green beans with shallots and pine nuts.
As I was thinking up a gluten-free version of a stuffing recipe, my friend highly recommended I make Gimme Some Oven’s quinoa stuffing. Friend recipe suggestions are always highly welcome and instantly get my interested in testing out some new recipes.
Hmmm… Intriguing. Who knew quinoa could be used to make stuffing? Certainly not me.
I don’t know if I can move away from the standard bread crumb/cube stuffing recipes though – I do love those so much. Definitely my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner right there. All the over classic Thanksgiving dishes I can pass on. Even the turkey. But not the stuffing. That’s where it’s at for me. The heart of the whole meal.
So I’m not quite ready to accept quinoa as a stuffing alternative, but I am more than happy to convert it into a creamy and smooth refreshing crunchy fall salad recipe. Meet my new favorite gluten free and vegan fall salad.
I just recently made a quinoa recipe I loved with dried cranberries, tart apples and crunchy celery and kale. That became a quick favorite.
This vegan fall salad recipe is too.
Here we’ve got the smooth and creamy ever so slightly sweet acorn squash, blending with the sharp bite of the arugula, the tart cranberries and the crunchy and smokey pistachios. All enveloped in a cloud of fluffy quinoa. A vegan fall salad with nuts and fruit makes for a perfect plant based full on entree salad. I love the flavor added by the pistachios specifically. Pistachios have to be one of my favorite nuts, and I find them to be such an incredible addition to savory meals.
Drizzle with a lemony mustard dressing on top for the finishing touch.
A vegan fall salad (or stuffing) that’s hearty and gluten-free.
How to make my vegan fall salad:
A vegan fall salad with quinoa, squash, cranberries and pistachios. Tons of fresh crisp fall flavors all fusing together. Tossed with a zesty lemon mustard dressing.
- 1 acorn squash cut in half and seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1/4-1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 3-4 ounces arugula
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios lightly chopped
- 1 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 lemon zested
- salt/pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut each acorn half into 1 inch think segments. Lightly oil a baking tray and place acorn squash slices in a single layer and place on baking sheet, Lightly brush each slice with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Cut into 1 inch pieces removing the skin.
- Heat 1 tablespoons coconut oil in pot over medium heat and add quinoa. Lightly toast the quinoa, stirring frequently for a few minutes. Add 1 cup of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered 15 minutes or until cooked through. Fluff with a fork.
- In a large bowl combine quinoa, arugula, squash, cranberries, pistachios and red onion.
- In a small bowl combine lemon zest, 2-3 tablespoons oil, 1-2 teaspoons mustard and 1 tablespoon lemon juice for the dressing. Mix until smooth.
Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven