Each bite of this colorful salad is filled with the flavors of favorite fall ingredients such as apples, butternut squash, and pumpkin seeds. For optimum freshness and texture, wait to add the dressing until just before serving.

Note that this recipe calls for cooked quinoa, so have that ready to go: For 1½ cups cooked quinoa, rinse and drain ½ cup quinoa; cook according to package directions; and drain if needed. Check out our Grains Cooking Guide for more tips on prepping grains like a pro.

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • 2 cups ¾-inch pieces peeled butternut squash
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups stemmed and chopped kale
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 15×10-inch baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Arrange squash in the prepared baking pan. Roast 20 to 25 minutes or until squash is tender, brushing lightly with water if squash starts to look dry. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl toss together pumpkin seeds and ½ teaspoon water; sprinkle with cinnamon. Place pumpkin seeds in a small, shallow baking pan. Roast 5 minutes or until lightly toasted; cool.
  • For dressing, remove 1 teaspoon zest and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice from lemon. In a small bowl whisk together lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, and mustard.
  • In a large bowl combine kale, quinoa, apple, green onions, and roasted squash. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Top with pumpkin seeds.

Comments (30)

(5 from 19 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Beautiful combination. We enjoyed it for breakfast and really the cinnamon makes it so very good!


I loved everything about this recipe and was also good "as is." Well done!


Made this salad today and it was DELICIOUS!!!! Will definitely make it again, and again, and again!

April Bromiley

It’s a good recipe…This is a dish you can use at the end of the week to use the left over veggies you have. I had dehydrated pumpkin some fresh kidney beans and used mushrooms and a mix of leafy greens…Everyone gobbled it down.

Lyn C

Yum-Me! Very filling and serves well as a meal on its own or as a side salad. This is definitely a repeat recipe. I had coriander (cilantro) that was on it's last days, so I chopped it up and put it into the salad as well, it blended in well with the rest of the ingredients. I imagine that if you don't have pumpkin seeds, you can also use roasted slivered almonds to give a similar taste and crunch.

Lyn C

Oops...I forgot...5 stars!


It was reallyyy good with raisins/dried cranberries too


OMG! This is the best. I used farrow because it was already made. I just couldn't stop eating it!

Kenella Johnston

Is this salad meant to be served warm or cold?


Only squash, but it was slightly warm by the time I put everything together.


Very good! I wouldn't change a thing.


I want to try Barbara’s suggestion of using grapefruit juice instead of lemon


I loved reading the different changes people tried with this recipe. Im ging to try some of them especially Barbara’s suggestion to use grapefruit juice in stead of lemon

Vicki Marvin

Love this!!! I cut prep time by buying butternut squash already peeled and cut from the produce section. And cooked the Quinoa is the instant pot so I didn’t have to mind that. I’ll definitely make this again


Delicious! I made enough for one serving as that's how much Kale I had in my garden but also I feel like squash IN salads doesn't do well as 'leftovers'. It was DELICIOUS!


Prep time takes quite a long time. I made it on a Sunday while I was off work. Acorn Squash is hard to peel and then baking that and cooking the quinoa. But....it was very good. I liked the dressing. I put it on right before I had my salad. If you have the time, this is a good salad.


No oil for the dressing? Olive?


Forks over knives is a whole food, plant based, no oil way of eating. You won't find oil in any of the recipes here

Karen M

I used delicata squash in place of butternut and brown rice in place of the quinoa. This was fantastic!

Carol Fay

This is the best salad ever!! The only thing I substituted was the pumpkin seeds. I didn't have any, so use pine nuts. Fantastic!!!


Made some substitutes used rice pilaf and added carrots and zucchini was awesome

Barbara Reale

I make it over and over again during the cold months. Simply delicious and light:). I like it more with grapefuit juice instead of lemon, but for the rest, I wouldn't change it a bit:)


This salad was great. I never know where preptimes and ready to eat times come from. I had to cook this from scratch-the quinoa, squash, and pumpkin seeds. It took me 2 hours!


Next time grab a bag of diced butternut squash from the grocery store and roast that instead of peeling, deseeding and dicing a whole butternut squash.


Hi Jill, yes, scratch cooking takes longer. I think the times in the recipe are with the ingredients already prepared and ready to go. So, if you had everything chopped and measured out already, the prep/ready times would be about right. So many times I prepare a few things the night before (or a few days ahead), then proceed with the recipe. A French term for this is mise en place, having everything measured and ready to go. Happy cooking!

Susan Packwood

I just made this last night…..wonderful! I didn’t have butternut squash so I used half a sweet potato. It was flavorful and I think very healthy.

Brenda Page-Covel

Absolutely delicious!!! the dressing is the key ingredient in this salad. I've had so may people as for this recipe, everyone loves it. Thank you !!

lori dickens

can I use swiss chard instead of kale?


This was absolutely delicious! I had cooked sorghum berries already, so I used them instead of the quinoa, but everything else was the same. Family and friends all loved it as well!! It is very colourful and flavourful and is a beautiful salad to bring to potlucks or bbq’s. Highly recommended!!


So delicious! I had to sub the kale for spinach and pumpkin seeds for roasted almond slices. Definitely a keeper.

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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