Warm Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Butternut Squash & Toasted Walnuts {Vegan} {GF}

I don’t know about you but I’ve about had enough of this cold weather.  And where I am, it’s not even one of those “pretty” winters that you see on Hallmark Christmas movies.  We rarely get snow here (and if we do, it’s an inch or so and everything shuts down).  We are the unlucky ones that stuck with the freezing cold rain at 33°.


Another thing (on the long list of items) that I dislike about winter is the fact that it gets so dark so early.  If I didn’t have a treadmill and I was an evening runner, I would especially hate this point.  How do you guys do it?


The darkness that settles in at 5:00 pm makes my body go into sleep-mode so as soon as I get off work, I’m ready to go home and relax.


This warm quinoa salad is the perfect meal for a cold, dark night.  It’s quick & easy, warm (if you didn’t get that from the title) and comforting.  To make it even better, I like to use fresh butternut squash that has been pre-cut (those things are just so darn hard to chop up).


Warm Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Butternut Squash & Toasted Walnuts {Vegan} {GF}


  • 1 cup Red Quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups Water
  • 2 cups Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 cups fresh Spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup Walnuts, toasted*
  • Salt & Pepper


Preheat your oven to 400°F.  In a 13” x 9” baking dish, toss the cubed butternut squash with olive oil.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Meanwhile, place the quinoa and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy.  When the quinoa is done, add the chopped spinach, roasted butternut squash, toasted walnuts and season with salt & pepper.  Toss everything until combined and serve immediately.

*To toast walnuts, place on a baking sheet and bake at 350° for 5 minutes.

14 thoughts on “Warm Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Butternut Squash & Toasted Walnuts {Vegan} {GF}

  1. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says:

    I just discovered your blog through Coconut and Berries and am so glad I did 🙂 Being in Australia, I have the opposite trouble at the moment – I was out the door before 5.30am this morning to try and get a run in before the heat started heading towards 44’C! – but I can very much sympathise with the winter equivalent too. Luckily, this dish looks like something I’d love to eat regardless of temperature.

    • wholefoodrunner says:

      Oh yes I know the feeling of summer here in North Carolina as well! Maybe not THAT hot but hot enough to make you get out the door before sunrise. Thank you for stopping by my blog, I hope you enjoy it!!

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