Fall Quinoa Salad with Sage VinaigretteOct 13, 2021
I recently shared a poll to my Instagram asking what type of recipes you’d like to see heading into the fall. Of course, there was lots of feedback for pumpkin-inspired treats, but I liked how many of y’all thought outside of the box a bit.
So, for those who requested lighter, nourishing fall salads and bowls, this one is for you. I love whipping up new combinations with whatever is in season at the moment, and this Fall Quinoa Salad with Sage Vinaigrette has it ALL going on.
As a base for these types of bowls, I always love to find a couple of different greens to keep things interesting. Plus, having a variety of different plant foods in your diet (I shoot for at least 30 weekly for myself and my clients) is KEY for optimal gut health.
Here, I chose spinach and arugula, as they’re two of my go-to greens and are powerhouses in the nutrition department. Spinach is so incredibly versatile as it can be thrown into basically any savory and even “sweet” meals like smoothies (you’d never even know!). Plus, it’s packed with vitamin K and folate to support brain health, manage blood pressure and more.
And while I’m a huge spinach fan, I love arugula. The peppery-nature adds a great bite and freshness, making it my go-to green. Not to mention it provides an impressive array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, plus it’s been researched for its cancer-fighting benefits!
In addition to the greens, quinoa is one of the best additions to salads and grain bowls. I have tons of quinoa-based recipes on my site for those looking to incorporate more of this ancient grain into their diet as well.
But for those new to the quinoa bandwagon, let’s break it down, shall we?
Quinoa actually isn’t a grain, it’s a super nutritious seed, which means it’s naturally gluten free! Plus, it’s high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various antioxidants. Quinoa is also one of the few plant-based sources of “complete protein” – aka it provides all of the nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein).
While these ingredients make the perfect base for this bowl, what really takes home the fall flavors are the seasonal roasted veggies. You’re more than welcome to swap out the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and caramelized onions for whatever you love best, but I found this combo to be perfect.
And what salad is complete without a little crunch? Pecans are a fall-staple over here, as seen in one of my most popular blog recipes to date, these Healthy Pecan Pie Bars.
Pecans actually have the same cancer-fighting antioxidants as walnuts, and they’re loaded with essential minerals, including manganese and copper. Plus, they’ve also been associated with lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and increased triglyceride levels.
You can read more about the power of these nuts and many others I regularly include in my diet in my Why I’m Nuts About Nuts (& You Should be Too) post!
Lastly, to bring this loaded salad together, my Sage Vinaigrette is key. Sage has an earthy flavor and is a staple in all of my savory fall meals. Plus it’s been utilized for centuries for its healing properties! It’s high in nutrients and antioxidants, can protect oral health, reduce blood sugar levels, support memory and brain health and more.
Together, all of these elements make for both an incredibly nutritious meal and one that embraces seasonal produce and the fall flavors we love.
Whip this up for your next meal prep, and let me know how you like it!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (yields about 2 cups cooked)
- 2-3 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 2-3 cups Brussels sprouts, halved or quartered (depending on size)
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups arugula
- ¼ cup pecans
- ½ cup dried cherries or cranberries (unsweetened if possible)
- avocado oil for roasting veggies & caramelizing onions
- salt & pepper
- Sage Vinaigrette
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 3 large sage leaves, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
*Pro Tip* - use vegetable broth or bone broth in place of water for more flavor!
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