We started making this Moroccan-inspired roasted vegetable salad about ten years ago, and it’s been an autumn and winter staple recipe ever since. It’s a great weeknight meal warm salad, a real prep and go kind of deal.
While the vegetables and apples are in the oven, the quinoa is quickly cooked, or you can use a leftover grain. Garlic is roasted along with the other vegetables – skin on – to add some sweetness and garlic flavour to the dressing without being overwhelming. Roasting the garlic in individual cloves is easy, and you get that amazing roasted garlic flavour without using a whole head.
The end result is a spectacular roasted vegetable quinoa salad that really utilises the best of the season. This is one of my go-to dishes for entertaining, and it’s fantastic served as part of a spread with something like lentil falafel, sweet potato dip, and cauliflower salad.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Butternut squash: You can use any kind of pumpkin in place of butternut squash, like buttercup, Hokkaido, or even acorn if you don’t mind peeling it. Keep in mind that it’s one of the main elements here and you should use a variety you like.
- Red onion: shallots can be subbed in for the red onion.
- Quinoa: any type of grain can be used in place of quinoa – freekeh, millet, even rice.
- White wine vinegar: lemon juice makes a good sub. You can also add some preserved lemon and reduce the added acid and salt.
- Parsley: see parsley substitutions. I recommend mint for this recipe.
Step by Step
1. Prepare: prep the squash, apple, and onions, then place them into a large baking dish with the garlic (skin on!).
2. Mix: add the oil and spices, then mix to coat.
3. Bake: for about half an hour, or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork. While that’s in the oven, cook the quinoa.
4. Serve: once the vegetables are ready, carefully remove and peel the garlic. Add the quinoa and roasted vegetables to a large platter or bowl. Top with the vinaigrette, pomegranate seeds, and parsley, and serve warm.
Apples add a lot to this dish and can’t be left out. The pumpkin is sweet, yes, but the apples add another note and varying texture that bring it all up to the next level. With the roasted garlic vinaigrette and pomegranate, everything comes together into the most perfect meal.
Luckily, butternut squash isn’t a particularly hard pumpkin and cooks up pretty quickly if it’s cut to the right size here. The onions will be soft and browned, the apples will be perfectly caramelised, and the squash is just barely golden. If you over bake you risk the apples (and everything else) turning to mush.
Winter squash (pumpkins) keep well right up until spring. The ones you’re getting in March are very likely still local and taste just as good now as they did in October.
How to Store
Storage: this will keep for a couple of days in a sealed container in the refrigerator, and is best served warm or at room temperature.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing this salad (cooked quinoa freezes well though).
- Reduce the spice: if you find cayenne pepper to spicy, omit it and use just black pepper.
- Multitask: cooking the quinoa while the vegetables are in the oven makes for a quick meal, and you do want to serve while the veg is still hot, so be sure that the quinoa is ready before they come out of the oven.
- Season to taste: this is one of the few dishes that I don’t add extra salt to (beyond what’s in the recipe card) as it simply doesn’t need it, especially if the quinoa is seasoned properly.
More Moroccan-Inspired Recipes
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Warm Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Salad
- 500 grams butternut squash, peeled (about half a pumpkin)
- 1 large tart apple cored and thinly sliced
- 4 small red onions quartered (or one regular, sliced)
- 3 whole cloves of garlic skin on
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- 110 grams quinoa
- 250 ml water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
- Roasted garlic from vegetables
- 60 ml olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar*
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ pomegranate seeds only
- 10 grams parsley leaves only
- Preheat your oven to 190°C (350°F) and set aside a large casserole dish or baking sheet.
- Cut the squash into approximately equal squares of about 3cm (1 inch). Place into the casserole dish with the apple, onions, and garlic.500 grams butternut squash, peeled (about half a pumpkin), 1 large tart apple, 4 small red onions, 3 whole cloves of garlic
- Add the olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and cardamom to the vegetables, then mix until evenly coated.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- Place the dish into the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the butternut squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
- While the vegetables are roasting, cook the quinoa. Add the quinoa, water, and salt to a medium pot and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low to simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed.110 grams quinoa, 250 ml water, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Once the vegetables are done, remove the garlic cloves and carefully peel. The roasted garlic should slip right out of the skin.
- Mash the garlic with a fork, and then mix well with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.Roasted garlic, 60 ml olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar*, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- To serve, place the quinoa onto a large platter or individual plates and top with the roasted vegetables, vinaigrette, pomegranate, and herbs. Best warm but not bad at room temperature, this salad will also keep well for a couple of days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.1/4 pomegranate, 10 grams parsley
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was originally published in November 2015. It has been most recently updated as of October 2020.