Roasted Pumpkin and Crunchy Red Quinoa Salad with Sesame Mint Dressing

As much as I love eating light, a summer salad just doesn’t cut it when I’m famished … especially during the cold winter months when we all start craving the flavors of carby comfort foods. Next time your craving a showstopping seasonal salad, you’ve gotta try this satisfying and hearty Roasted Pumpkin and Crunchy Red Quinoa Salad.

This salad is protein and carb-rich, visually appealing, slightly mysterious, and, more importantly, really tasty. The cold, crunchy quinoa base is topped with warm caramelized pumpkin and finished with a smooth green tahini dressing.

I serve this dish as an appetizer for dinner parties, but it’s just as good as a one-plate lunch. Spend time arranging it creatively and savor the perfection.

Watch

I recently stopped by Hallmark’s Home & Family studio to show viewers how easy this salad is to throw together. Plus, find out the many ways you can customize it for your family!

Roasted Pumpkin and Crunchy Red Quinoa Salad Recipe

Roasted Pumpkin and Crunchy Red Quinoa Salad with Sesame Mint Dressing

Ingredients

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 20 leaves mint
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, optional
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Roasted Pumpkin

  • 1 medium sized pumpkin thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or butter)
  • A drizzle of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

Quinoa Crunch

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup kale, julienned
  • 1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs: mint, parsley, and cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Lemon juice squeezed to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts toasted
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts or pecans toasted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Tahini Dressing

  1. Pulse all dressing ingredients in a food processor.

  2. Add water to achieve desired consistency. It can be made one day ahead if you omit the mint and add fresh.

Roasted Pumpkin

  1. Wash and peel pumpkin. Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise.
  2. Turn face down and slice into 1/2 inch slices that resemble half moons.
  3. Place on a baking sheet with dressing and roast uncovered at 400º F until caramelized, 30-40 minutes.

Quinoa Crunch

  1. Cook quinoa with 1 cup of water. Allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to fridge.

  2. Ideally, cook quinoa in advance to allow it to chill fully.

  3. In a medium bowl combine green onions, kale, herbs, honey, olive oil, lemon juice, nuts. Add cooled quinoa.

  4. To assemble, arrange quinoa on appetizer plate. Arrange roasted pumpkin on top. Drizzle with tahini dressing, sprinkle additional nuts and enjoy.