This warm Moroccan roasted vegetable salad is packed with cold weather comfort foods, like butternut squash, apples, and pomegranate. Vegan, gluten free, and very easy, this is a great weeknight meal.
This post was originally published in November 2015. It has been updated with improvements to the recipe, text, and new photographs as of January 2020.
Several years ago I did a yoga teacher training, shortly after finishing my undergrad degree. I liked it, and I like teaching, but I’m not big on meditating. I thought of some great recipe ideas when we were supposed to be meditating.
This Moroccan quinoa salad was one of them, and I have made it every autumn and winter since then. The original post, though, included pictures of the dish with raw sage (because I didn’t have cilantro or parsley, apparently) even though 1. raw sage is gross, and 2. it had no place in the recipe at all. The photos were also dim and out of focus. But it’s a delicious salad!
So, new photos, a simplification of the recipe, and some pumpkins left over from our autumn harvest cured and sitting in the pantry. Winter squash (pumpkins) keep well right up until spring. The ones you’re getting at this time of year are very likely still local and taste just as good now as they did in October.
Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Salad
This is a great weeknight meal, 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 making a whole head.
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 caramelized, and the squash is just barely golden. If you over bake you risk the apples (and everything else) turning to mush.
Top it off with some pomegranate, a bit of parsley, and all that roasted garlic dressing and you’re ready to go. It’s seriously so good. I think a bit of pickled onion wouldn’t be amiss if you’re into that, too.
What about substitutions?
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.
Shallots can be subbed in for the red onion, and cilantro or mint can be used interchangeably with parsley. Any type of grain can be used in place of quinoa – freekeh, millet, even rice. There aren’t a pile of possible subs here as it’s a simple dish but you can always add if you like. Think chickpeas, arugula, and so on.
I know white balsamic vinegar is a bit of a luxury item that might not be so easy to find, but you can easily use white wine vinegar or lemon juice instead. Just add a touch of maple syrup to make up for the lost sweetness from the balsamic.
This really is an ultra-simple dinner, so I’m not going to write any more than needed here. Just go make it!
Love these spices? Here are a few other delicious Moroccan-inspired recipes!
Let’s connect! If you liked this recipe, make sure to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you’re making, and stay in touch via email, facebook, and pinterest.
- 500 grams / 18 oz. butternut squash, peeled (about half a pumpkin)
- 1 large tart apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 4 small red onions, quartered
- 3 whole cloves of garlic, skin on
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 110 grams / 1 cup quinoa
- 250ml / 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
- Roasted garlic (from vegetables)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar*
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 pomegranate, seeds only
- 10 grams / 1/4 cup parsley, leaves only
- Preheat your oven to 190C / 350F 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.
- Add the oil and spices to the vegetables, then mix until evenly coated.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
* This should be to the acidity level you prefer. Don't have white balsamic? Just use white wine vinegar or lemon juice instead - add 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup in that case.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 477 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 3g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 11mg Sodium: 985mg Carbohydrates: 59g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 14g Protein: 6g