Smoky Sweet Winter Quinoa Salad

Smoky Sweet Winter Quinoa Salad

In the name of Valentine’s Day (yes, that big ol’ Hallmark holiday some of us enjoy – and some of us don’t really care too much about), I wanted to share with you a dramatically truthful and utterly heart-warming love story.

A love story about a girl and a squash. [Love story can be found at the end of the post.]

This winter quinoa salad is my ode to the Delicata squash. When tossed with honey and chipotle and roasted in a hot oven, it takes on a warm and hearty flavor and texture. The grapefruit wedges add a lively tartness to the mix, and the sweetness from the honey brings everything together into a satisfying bowl of yum. Serve it warm, room temp, or chilled. However you like! It would probably be great to take as leftovers for lunch, too.

I hope that if you ever have the great fortune of coming across a Delicata squash in the grocery store, you’re inspired to snatch it up and take it home with you for dinner.


Smoky Sweet Winter Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings

Smoky Sweet Winter Quinoa Salad

A smoky sweet red quinoa salad with roasted Delicata squash and grapefruit spears tossed with a zesty citrus dressing. Enjoy!


  • 2 small Delicata squash (or 1 large)
  • 1 medium grapefruit
  • 1/3 cup grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed from reserved pulp)
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp honey, divided
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
  • 2 tbsp oil (we used Grapeseed), divided
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • fresh parsley (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds. Slice each squash half crosswise into 1/2" pieces. Peel and segment the grapefruit into wedges. Squeeze remaining juice from pulp into a small bowl and reserve. Rinse quinoa thoroughly under cold running water for 1 minute and let drain. Peel and mince garlic clove. Roughly chop pecans. If using, clean parsley and separate the leaves from the hard stems.
  3. Toss squash with 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp chipotle sauce (or powder), minced garlic and 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown (~20 minutes). Flip squash once after 10 minutes.
  4. Toast the quinoa in a small heavy pot over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and fragrant. Add water and salt, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed (about 20-25 minutes for red quinoa). Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  5. While quinoa and squash are cooking, make the dressing. Whisk together the reserved grapefruit juice, cider vinegar, 1 tsp honey, red pepper flakes and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add quinoa, squash, grapefruit wedges, chopped pecans and citrus dressing to a large bowl. Toss to combine. Portion into dishes. Serves 2-3 as an entree or 4 as a side salad.


Taste test as you go and adjust seasonings according to preference. Enjoy!

[Love story] I first discovered Delicata squash in a CSA box I received a few years back. With its warm yellow glow and bright green stripes, I was instantly intrigued. The rest was history. Since then there have been many a dish in my home featuring the lovely little squash. I love you, you little guy, you. You’re so easy to cut (unlike Spaghetti or Butternut), you don’t need to be peeled and you cook so quickly…

Smoky Sweet Winter Quinoa Salad