Red Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans

Red quinoa salad is gluten free and vegan and delicious
A dazilious red quinoa salad with fruit and vegetable jewels.

Today's recipe is perfect for Fall. It's a beautiful red quinoa recipe I tossed together one weeknight, featuring roasted butternut squash, cranberries and pecans. Classic Autumn flavors. Gorgeous color. Serve this as a colorful vegan side dish. Or stuff a vegetable (it would be fab and hip served in roasted bell pepper halves).

Red quinoa has a milder taste than the standard quinoa. So if you think you don't like quinoa, try the Inca red. I suspect you'll convert to quinoa love.

Red Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans Recipe

Karina's Red Quinoa Recipe with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans

Recipe originally published January 2010.

I find red quinoa is a tad crunchier than the usual quinoa I cook, so I add a bit more water to make it softer. If you like your quinoa al dente, use a grain to liquid ratio of 1:2 with red quinoa. If you prefer it a little softer, add another 1/4 cup water. See more at: How to Cook Quinoa the Easy Way.


1 cup red quinoa
1 smallish butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, halved or chopped as you prefer
1/2 of a medium red onion, diced fine
1 clove of garlic, minced
Olive oil
Pure maple syrup, to taste
Sea salt
A sprinkle of ginger and/or curry, to taste
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve. Cook the red quinoa in a rice cooker, using a 1:2 ratio of 1 cup red quinoa to 2 cups water. As mentioned above, if you like it softer, add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup water. If you don't have a rice cooker, cook the quinoa on the stove in a pot, according to package directions.

In a medium roasting pan add the butternut squash, cranberries, onion and garlic. Drizzle with a dash of olive oil, to coat. Add a teaspoon or two of pure maple syrup- not too much. Sprinkle with sea salt, ginger and a dash of curry. Toss everything together. Roast in the top half of the oven until the squash is tender- about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet and lightly toast the pecans, till fragrant.

In a large warmed serving bowl, add in the cooked quinoa and the roasted butternut mixture. Add in the toasted pecans, chopped parsley. Taste test and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with some fruity extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe Source:

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Recipe for Red Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans

More gorgeous quinoa recipes from food bloggers:

Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme at Lucullian Delights
Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa from 101 Cookbooks
Quinoa Salad with Tomato, Feta and Parsley from The Perfect Pantry
Quinoa Pilaf at Simply Recipes
Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen
Red Quinoa Salad at Tea & Cookies
Breakfast Quinoa with Dried Cherries, Raisins, Pecans from Food Blogga
Curried Cashew Chicken Salad with Red Quinoa and Baby Peas at Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa with Roasted Radishes and Pearl Onions at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen

xox Karina


Kalyn said...

I just continue to be awed by your talent. Seriously.

Meenakshi said...

I came to your site today thinking I've got to use that Inca Red Quinoa that's been sitting in the pantry, those cranberries too and I'm sure Karina has a delicious recipe I cud try.... and... and Wow! ... umm, WOW! I was surprised!!! I even looked away and looked back at the screen to be sure I actually saw this.... really? And then I read your prose poem. Oh my, it's as if you are talking straight to my heart, girl! Loved it, so beautifully painted in words. "She never used the built-in sharpener. She preferred rough edges".... you had me smiling wide, the kind of smile you have when someone after years still recognizes you and there's an instant connection. :)

Gonna make this tonight for dinner. Will write back to let you know how it came out. Thank you once again!

Liz Tee said...

Regular quinoa will work too, right? Just a different taste sensation?

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

That is one stunningly beautiful salad. I've never cooked red quinoa, and I've never roasted cranberries, but I love the idea of both and will get to work collecting the ingredients.

• friX • said...

This looks so good ! Really, when I see your pictures, gluten-free food doesn't seem so bad...

I Am Gluten Free said...

Stunningly gorgeous. The juxtaposition of the red cranberries and the orange butternut squash and the pink/red onions and the green parsley - it is a feast for the eyes AND the stomach. You are truly a goddess!


Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Looks so nourishing and delicious. The photo is beautiful. =)

Dawn Hutchins said...

If I just had cranberries I would make this right now!
I would just like to say thank you for giving me so many recipe ideas. Last Friday I found my 16 month old is allergic to wheat, soy, eggs, dairy, peanuts and cod fish. I would be at a complete loss of what to cook if I had not found you!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful prose. The first part, about the food battle, reminded me of my autistic celiac son's meals before he was diagnosed. The enemy wasn't necessarily meat, just whatever I wanted him to eat that he didn't want to eat (pretty much everything other than macaroni & cheese or chicken nuggets). Luckily, I gave up on the battles, and now he has, too. He'll try most things if given the space to be able to decide for himself to try it (and sometimes some gentle persuasion helps, too).


Misty said...

Incredible! My heart ached for the girl, so lonely and afraid and mute grey. But the picnic and the ending were gorgeous. Very beautiful and evocative. That quinoa is just beautiful too. So fresh and colorful, a perfect pair to your poem. I love quinoa and have been branching out in how I prepare it, though it's difficult to keep away from my favorite so far:

Tessa said...

perfect timing... just bought quinoa & cranberries today! I love you :)
You are making my transition painless

focusforwardnow said...

I so enjoyed your prose. Gluten Free AND a writer. Nice combo. Felicia in San Diego.

Peter Newman-Legros said...

Hi Karina

I am helping a friend put together her blog and she would love to have a list of categories as you have on the right hand side of your page. How did you achieve that?

Many thanks

Peter NL

Miss Jane said...

I have today been diagnosed with coeliac disease. I already have fructose malabsorption, lactose intolerance and SIBO. I walked outta the hospital and said to my husband "food is my enemy". Thanks Karina for your prose, for your beautiful recipes and photos. And for making me smile xxx

Amy O'Kane said...

i actually happen to have all of these things handy. my boys just love butternut- this might the recipe to convince them they love quinoa. thank you.

Laura Schmitt said...

That is beautiful! The colors really pop. I am a huge fan of roasted veggie quinoa dishes, and this twist with cranberry looks like a hit! Thanks :)

snielsus said...

Very colorful! I'm planning on roasting a turkey this weekend and this is a great alternative to stuffing.

A question: Is there a list of which lipsticks are gluten-free?

Susan in Torrance, CA

Meenakshi said...

Made this last night and absolutely loved it.... it's such a festive, colorful and happy dish! You are the best!

Misty said...

Ack - sorry for the bad link in my comment above. Here's the quinoa recipe I love:

j.cro said...

I'm going to try this with the quinoa I have on hand and the delicata squash sitting on my counter. I hope it will taste just as delicious as your photo looks.

Chocolate Shavings said...

That salad looks delicious and that photo is absolutely stunning!

cottagesweet said...

You have a great site and I love your site map. It's easy to find things on your blog. Thanks so much!

veggiesmack said...

Wow! That dish is gorgeous! So many colors!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

One would think you painted that dish versus photographed it. The colors are absolutely amazing! A fiesta of tastes and textures there, too. And, the story ... wow.


Dawn said...

I made it tonight for dinner and it was fabulously good! :)
I also made my first loaf of gluten-free bread tonight thanks to you, and it too was great! You are making my recent transition into the land of Celiac/Gluten-free pretty easy and I thank you!

Lauren said...

I love quinoa, and yum.

Emmylou said...

Karina~ absolutely loved the prose. I want more. 2nd's, thirds, desert, a night cap a midnight snack! (oh, and the salad looks great too!

Mitzi in San Diego

Iris said...

Looks delicious! I love all the colors! And I always wondered what the difference was between different colors of quinoa...

MaryMoh said...

Looks bright, colourful, fresh, delicious and healthy! I love it.

Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD said...

Looks absolutely delicious! I want to try this ASAP!

milcarnivore said...

Great recipe! I'm becoming a big fan of quinoa, especially the red quinoa (which, unfortunately, I have a hard time finding!).

I love the combination of cranberries and pecans in a wheatberry salad with some rosemary. The combination seems very autumnal and Thanksgiving-y to me.

Adriana Eder said...

Dear Karina,
I have been a devoted reader for a few years now and absolutely adore your recipes, your stories, your humor, your insight on all things food & otherwise. I have been eagerly awaiting a GF apple tart or apple pie recipe for a good long time and am putting in a friendly & hopeful request that sometime soon you'll share some good ideas with us. Today is my birthday (28!) so my husband has offered to bake me anything I choose - of course I've given him the challenging task of a skillet apple pie based on an American Test Kitchen recipe. Wishing him luck as I sit here, fork in hand, drool on the brink, and anticipation building.
Much joy & happiness from our kitchen to yours,

Jessica said...

Beautiful words and beautiful food, how satiating.

And what lovely bokeh you have!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't find cranberries! It was still great. I used hazel nuts intead of pecans, and regular quinoa instead of red. Great recipe, as usual.

Anke said...

I love love love your writing.
Beautiful. Stunning.

Meg's Gut said...

Sounds delicious! I've never thought of putting fresh cranberries in a salad...i always do dry. Does red quinoa taste different than "white"?

Stephanie Quilao said...

I love food with stories! Quinoa and butternut squash are two of my fave foods. I must try this dish.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Those colors are so vibrant, Karina! I love everything about this recipe. Thanks for the link love. :)

Shuku said...

This recipe caught my eye the minute I saw it, and I'd seen bags of frozen cranberries at the supermarket the other day. (Cranberries aren't cheap here at all, they're imports, but a bag will last me a while so I bought a bag.)

So. Since butternut squash isn't something readily found here, and pecans are also quite pricy, this is what I did. I used half a small pumpkin, sliced up several button mushrooms and put those in the oven with the cranberries and onion. I also added an extra clove of garlic. I didn't have maple syrup so I used a teaspoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of agave syrup to toss the vegetables for roasting. Then I toasted pine nuts as I had some that needed using up, and mixed them into the quinoa instead of pecans. And I had tri-coloured quinoa, so I used -that-.

It still came out wonderful and my apartment now smells like something out of cooking heaven. Great simple recipe that I'd make again, for sure!

maiadedrick said...

This was great! I substituted raisins for cranberries and walnuts for pecans (what I had around). I also added chili powder and cinnamon, but left out the parsley. Oh yes, and I added tempeh. It was delicious, a perfect use for this butternut squash that has been lying around.

~RED~ said...

Making this for my catering first ever.. wish me luck, it's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Katrina,
I love your site:1) because you're a fantastically gifted and funny writer, 2) because your pics are so beautiful and 3) you make me want to cook, which, by nature I'm not usually so inclined. All this being said though, I have to admit I was pretty disappointed with this dish after making it last night. I followed the directions exactly but the end product just came out tasting bland. I kept putting more and more ginger, salt and pepper into it, but to no avail.It just lacks any real flavor. Any suggestions for future attempts with this?


Karina Allrich said...

Annee- I mention using your own discretion drizzling olive oil (should be tasty, fruity olive oil) and maple syrup (should be pure maple syrup). Did you add enough? And use enough salt? Mine was quite flavorful- though I admit- I prefer regular quinoa after trying the red quinoa. Perhaps it's the red quinoa itself?


Jennifer said...

I have never cooked squash or Quinoa so this was a whole new dish for my family and it was delicious! Our super market only carried regular quinoa so that is what I used. I love the nutty flavor of it. My family was pleasantly surprised.

Amelia said...

This dish looks absolutely beautiful! I am definitely adding it to our Thanksgiving menu! It has all of our holiday favorites (cranberries, butternut squash and pecans) all in 1 dish!

Jenna said...

MMMM..this looks stunning. i love the combo of quinoa and squash!

Sandy said...

I have always hear that you should not heat an oven to above 180C if you don't want to damage the oil. According to my calculations 375F is about 190.5C.


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