Southwest Quinoa Squash Salad is a spicy and healthy side dish with black beans, roasted butternut squash and a homemade Greek yogurt dressing bursting with flavor.
Southwest Quinoa Squash Salad
Southwest quinoa salad combines butternut squash together with that protein rich miracle grain quinoa and black beans. It is a salad, but it’s a vegetarian squash recipe which fills you up like a meal. It also makes a great side dish for roasted pork, chicken or grilled steak.
Any one of the ingredients, taken on their own merits, brings a wealth of nutritional superfood value. Butternut squash is absolutely rich in vitamins and a wonderful source of fiber. Black beans lower cholesterol and come packed with protein.
Quinoa? This grain literally was worshiped. So important nutritionally to the ancient Incans, they called it “the Mother Grain”. Any grain that helped build a civilization deserves a closer look.
Southwest quinoa salad is vegetarian but if you are looking for something on the other side of the spectrum, then I suggest my chicken quinoa salad. If you are new to quinoa, I do have a lot of quinoa recipes to enjoy!
Healthy yet delicious southwest quinoa salad with butternut squash
Plan on about thirty minutes for preparation plus cooking time for southwest quinoa salad. The prep does not take too much effort. You cut the butternut squash into cubes, or if you are like me, just buy the pre-cubed stuff at the grocery store.
Quinoa doesn’t take as long as rice to cook and if you use the Instant Pot you can have Pressure Cooker Quinoa ready in just Using pre-cooked black beans from a can works fine.
If you are are more ambitious, then cook your own black beans up. It takes more time but it is worth it. Some cultures serve black beans with every meal. For good reason! Black beans pack protein and fiber into every little bean.
Making your own black beans
When you cook them yourself, then you can get them just right. Neither too soft, nor too firm and with just the right level of seasoning to your taste.
If you make a big batch of crock pot black beans, be sure to take them off and cool before storing them in the fridge in a sealed container. Also, black beans will last a few extra days if you take time to rinse them every other day. You don’t want stinky black beans in your fresh and bright southwest quinoa salad!
You can use quinoa and black beans as a side so easily. There are so many ways to dress them up or down for any occasion the meal calls for. So making a bit extra and having it handy makes sense.
Because if you have the beans and quinoa already cooked, then you can use a microwave to cook your butternut squash. In which case, you can make southern quinoa squash salad in less than half the time.
Chipotle Lime dressing
I have a wonderful chipotle lime dressing made with Greek yogurt adds a bit of heat and a touch of sour to southwest quinoa salad. It balances well with the sweetness of butternut squash, and adds that touch of spice to make the beans jump.
The dressing comes together easily and you can make it while the butternut squash and quinoa are cooking. Make extra because it keeps really well and you will want to use it on salads and other dishes as well.
A note on cooking butternut squash for southwest quinoa salad
I prefer roasting the butternut squash for southwest quinoa salad. The flavor of the squash is enhanced greatly. The sweetness comes out just a bit, but the savory quality does as well.
However, you can also microwave the butternut squash for southwest quinoa salad if you wish. If time is an issue, then using the microwave cuts the cooking time down. However, I find that it is not near as flavorful. Also, the texture can be a bit mushy which isn’t as ideal.
Want some vegetarian recipes that work well with this vegetarian squash and quinoa salad?
I have a few ideas you might like if you are looking for healthy vegetarian options. These are dishes that would work to serve with southwest quinoa butternut squash salad as well as on their own.
- Soup and salad with this creamy vegetarian tomato soup
- Want a burger with your salad? This vegetarian black bean burger compliments the salad wonderfully with more southwest flavors.
- Goat cheese pizza is always one of my favorites and would be great for a heavy carb meal.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Toss the cubed squash with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 350°.
- In a large bowl, toss the cooked quinoa with the chipotle lime dressing, lime juice, black beans and roasted squash.
- Serve warm or chilled.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 263Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 80mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 12gSugar: 5gProtein: 9g