Food & Drinks

Butternut Squash & Cranberries Kale Quinoa Salad

What I love most about summer time, besides being able to spend time with the kiddos. It’s about all the fruits and veggies that are in season. My kids have always been huge fans of salads, which is amazing. They’re always up for trying new foods, so I thought making tasty healthy recipes with quinoa loaded with some veggies would be the perfect kickoff to our summer vacation.

Butternut Squash & Cranberries Kale Quinoa Salad

Since being out of work at Elon for summer break. I miss being able to cook everyday, who knew you would miss cooking everyday. So over summer break, my personal goal is to try new recipes that I can bring into the workplace. We’re always looking for new recipes to feed the college students for lunch and dinner.Butternut Squash & Cranberries Kale Quinoa Salad

If you’re not a fan of kale, that’s totally fine, you can use spinach if you like. Depending on where you buy your veggies, the kale that’s sold by the stock is most likely cheaper than the bagged kale. There’s just more work that goes into chopping it yourself. I’ve chopped so many greens from Elon, that I could most likely chop this in my sleep. You have to remember, it will first look like a lot, but once you cook it, it will not be a lot.

Butternut Squash & Cranberries Kale Quinoa Salad

Next, I picked sweet potatoes and butternut squash, both of these are my go to vegetable. If you cut them into small enough square pieces, they will cook faster. I added some olive oil and garlic salt to give it some extra flavor, but here you can get a bit creative and add whatever seasonings you want to add.

Butternut Squash & Cranberries Kale Quinoa Salad

Lastly, let’s give this salad some extra flavor with some dried cranberries, walnuts and some quinoa. I like quinoa because it’s an quick-cooking whole grain. I love using whole grains because they’re higher in fiber and protein than other grains. Fun facts: whole grains keep you fuller, happier and healthier too. If your heart desires you can add a dressing, I ate mine without anything.


  • 1 butternut squash ( peeled and 3/4-inch diced )
  • 2 sweet potatoes ( peeled and 3/4 inch diced )
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of quinoa ( I used 4 cups )
  • 2 cups of baby quinoa
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, chopped
  • 1 cup of black beans ( drain and washed )


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a piece of foil over a sheet pan before placing butternut squash and sweet potatoes to the pan. Then drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper & garlic salt. Make sure you toss, so all the pieces are covered and cooked evenly for 25 minutes.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to boil on high. Add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to a low. Let it simmer until all liquid is absorbed for roughly 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, stir and let sit to the aside.
  3.  In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat then add the kale. Cook and stir until wilted for about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic salt and cook for 1 additional minute or two.
  4. To assemble your salad you can mix it all together or layer it all nice and pretty, I personally like to mix all of mine together, add the quinoa and kale first. Then add your butternut squash, sweet potatoes. Lastly add your walnuts and dried cranberries on top.

Butternut Squash & Cranberries Kale Quinoa Salad

Hey! I'm Natalie and I live in North Carolina. I'm a single mama of four awesome kiddos. These are my thoughts on life, motherhood, fitness and everything in between.


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