Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

Just because it’s not summer anymore, doesn’t mean I stop rollin’ with my refrigerator salads! This Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad is a little smoky, uses hearty autumn vegetables, and can be served either cold or warm, making it perfect for this cooler autumn weather. And like all my refrigerator salads, this salad holds up well in the refrigerator and can be eaten alone or as the base for several different meals. Read on to find out more!

Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

How Long Does This Salad Last?

Store this salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and you’ll get about four days out of it, give or take some depending on the freshness of your ingredients and the conditions in your refrigerator. Remember to give the salad a stir just before serving to remix any dressing that may have settled.

How to Serve Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

You can serve this salad either warm or cold. It’s great both ways! The salad has quite a bit of protein on its own, but if you want to “beef” it up a bit more, you can add some grilled chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, sautéed shrimp, a soft boiled egg, tofu, or tempeh.

Is This Salad Spicy?

Yes. The dressing contains a good amount of chipotle powder, which has a smoky-spicy flavor. If you want to make this salad NOT spicy, simply substitute smoked paprika for the chipotle powder.

What Can I Substitute for Butternut Squash?

This salad can very easily be made with sweet potato instead of butternut squash. Just peel, dice, and sauté the sweet potato in the same manner as the butternut squash. Use about 1.5 to 2 pounds of sweet potato.

What if I Hate Cilantro??

Don’t worry, you have options. To make this Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad without cilantro, simply substitute sliced green onion in its place. In fact, green onion can be added to this salad even if you are using cilantro as well. It might be a great way to use up those leftovers!

Side view of a bowl of Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

 

Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

This make ahead Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad holds up well in your refrigerator for fast and easy lunches all week!

  • 1 cup quinoa ($1.20)
  • 2 lb. butternut squash (about 4 cups diced) ($1.45)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 1 pinch salt ($0.02)
  • 1 cup frozen corn ($0.20)
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans ($0.49)

Dressing

  • 1 cup chopped parsley ($0.35)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro ($0.19)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced ($0.24)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil ($0.42)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder* ($0.10)
  • 3/4 tsp salt ($0.05)
  1. Rinse the quinoa well with cool water in a fine wire mesh sieve. Add the quinoa and 1.75 cups water to a sauce pot. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow it to come to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low, and let the quinoa continue to simmer for 15 minutes (lid on).

  2. After 15 minutes of simmering, turn the heat off, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes.

  3. While the quinoa is simmering, prepare the butternut squash. Cut the ends off the squash to provide a flat sturdy surface. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds. Finally, dice the remaining squash.

  4. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add it to a large bowl along with the frozen corn. Stir to combine, allowing the hot quinoa to thaw the corn. Set the bowl aside.

  5. Next cook the butternut squash. Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced squash and a pinch of salt. Sauté the squash until it is tender and slightly browned (about 15 minutes). If the squash begins to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water and allow the steam to loosen the squash.

  6. While the squash is cooking, rinse and drain the black beans, and prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh cilantro, three cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chipotle powder, and 1 tsp salt. Stir to combine.

  7. When the butternut squash is finished cooking, add it to the bowl with the corn and quinoa. Also add the rinsed and drained black beans, and the prepared dressing. Stir to combine, then season with salt to taste, if needed. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!

How to Make Chipotle Butternut Squash Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cooked Quinoa in a sauce pot

Begin with the quinoa. Rinse 1 cup quinoa with cool water in a fine wire mesh sieve. Add the rinsed quinoa to a sauce pot with 1.75 cups water. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer (with lid) for 15 minutes. After simmering for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Quinoa and frozen corn in a bowl

When the quinoa is finished cooking, add it to a large bowl with 1 cup frozen corn and stir to combine. The heat from the quinoa will thaw the corn. Set the bowl aside.

Peel butternut squash

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the butternut squash. Cut the ends off the squash to give yourself a stable base to work on. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash.

Scoop seeds from butternut squash

Slice the squash in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds. 

Diced butternut squash

Then dice the rest of the squash into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes. To dice the squash, first cut it into slices, then cut across the slices into cubes. Make sure the cubes are not too large, or they’ll take forever to cook.

Sautéed Butternut Squash in a Skillet

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and place the skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the cubed butternut squash and a pinch of salt. Sauté the squash until it is tender and a little browned (this can take 10-15 minutes). If the squash begins to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water to the skillet and the steam will loosen the squash.

Prepared dressing for salad

While the squash is cooking, rinse and drain one 15 oz. can black beans and prepare the dressing. Chop 1 cup parsley and 1/2 cup cilantro. Mince three cloves of garlic. Combine the parsley, cilantro, and garlic with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chipotle powder, and 3/4 tsp salt. Stir to combine.

Butternut squash black beans and dressing in bowl

Once the butternut squash has cooked, add it to the bowl with the corn and quinoa. Also add the rinsed black beans and the prepared dressing.

Finished Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad in the bowl

Stir the ingredients to combine, give it a taste, and adjust the salt to your liking if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!

Close overhead view of a bowl full of Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

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