Fall is in the “air.” Well, maybe it’s still on the warm side, but October has arrived, and I’m eating all things pumpkin. Get ready to treat your taste buds to the flavors of fall with this fancy yet easy-to-make salad and homemade dressing. I love nothing more than a hearty salad with homemade dressing, and I’ve done it yet again – created a salad recipe that I’m quite addicted to. Last year, when I created this recipe, I would share the dressing with friends and neighbors. Every neighbor that I shared it with also became addicted to this salad recipe. It’s my second year making this salad, and it’s been my go-to lunch for the past few weeks. I don’t think I’ll stop eating this salad until after pumpkin season has ended.
This recipe comes together quickly with a little prep work. I like to roast a big batch of fresh butternut squash and red beets. I chop and store the roasted vegetables in my refrigerator. I also like to make a large batch of quinoa in my Instant Pot. You can freeze the leftovers into small portions and thaw out to use for quick lunches throughout the week. With a little prep work (preferably on the weekend), the salad is half done. Of course, you don’t have to limit this salad just for lunch. It would make for a perfect dinner, too. If you want to add a little protein to this salad, grab a rotisserie chicken from Earth Fare or even sear a few pieces of shrimp.
Tips on Making Homemade Dressing:
If you’ve never made your own salad dressing and have always felt intimidated, I’m here to ease your fears. If you look at the first ingredient in just about every salad dressing on the market, it’s water. Yes, you are basically buying flavored water. So, why not make your own dressing?
- Slowly add water when you make this dressing. If you want the dressing thicker, add less water. If you’re not happy with the consistency of the dressing and want the dressing thinner, just add a little bit of water at a time. I go tablespoon by tablespoon to be on the safe side.
- Most dressings will last five to seven days in the refrigerator. If you are using yogurt, check the expatriation date on your yogurt.
Always label the date on your dressing container.
- I like to store salad dressing in a mason jar or salad shaker that has a lid that seals tightly.
- Chill the dressing for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- When you make homemade salad dressing, it’s normal for it to separate. Just give it a shake or stir before you’re ready to serve.
If you’re a fan of salad in a jar, you would want to layer your ingredients in the following order: pumpkin yogurt dressing, apples, butternut squash, beets, cranberries, almonds and, lastly, the romaine. You can make two to three jars ahead of time for a quick meal.
Whether you are looking for a new salad recipe or simply want to break out and try something festive for the season, I invite you to give my recipe for Harvest Quinoa Salad With Pumpkin Yogurt Dressing a try!
Harvest Quinoa Salad With Pumpkin Yogurt Dressing
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
For the dressing:
- 1 cup organic, low-fat plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons flax oil
- 1/4 cup water
For the salad:
- 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 cups roasted butternut squash
- 2 cups roasted red beets
- 1 fuji apple, diced
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
For the dressing:
- In a large bowl, pour the organic, low-fat plain yogurt. Then add in the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Whisk together, then begin to slowly whisk in the flax oil and water. Whisk until well mixed for about 30 seconds.
- Pour into a dressing container or mason jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week (or expiration date on yogurt container).
For the salad:
- Divide chopped romaine lettuce between four large pasta-size bowls. Then divide the cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, and roasted beets evenly among the salad bowls.
- Dice an apple and divide evenly among bowls. Sprinkle on the pecans and dried cranberries and repeat until each bowl has the toppings. Then pour the pumpkin yogurt dressing on top. Enjoy immediately.
Note: To speed up prep time, I roast the butternut squash and beets ahead of time and then store in the refrigerator to make this salad on the fly. I also make a large batch of quinoa ahead of time.