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Fall Quinoa Salad

$11.43 Recipe/$2.86 Serving

Roasted vegetable quinoa bowl is packed with autumn inspired ingredients and perfect for lunch or dinner! Great for meal prep too, this healthy harvest grain bowl is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and packed with flavor!

Roasted vegetable quinoa bowl with maple tahini dressing in bowl.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Filling and delicious – this fall quinoa salad is packed with fall flavor and is so satisfying. The quinoa and chickpeas add protein and fiber and the veggies work together so well to create a seriously addicting salad bowl. You are going to find yourself making this salad all winter long!
  • Great for meal prep – you can make large batches of all the ingredients and assemble this harvest grain bowl to make all week long! Check the tips below on how to best meal prep this recipe!
  • Perfect for parties, potlucks but easy enough for weeknight meals – this fall quinoa salad is perfect for parties or potlucks as it’s vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free, nut free and egg free. The maple tahini dressing is addicting and will turn even salad haters into fans of this salad!
  • Easy to change ingredients – you can easily change the ingredients based on what you have on hand. Use any of your favorite fall veggies – butternut squash, beets, bell peppers, acorn squash, kabocha squash, etc.
Ingredients to make a fall quinoa salad
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Ingredients

Fall Quinoa Salad

  • Sweet potatoes – sweet potatoes help add a level of sweetness to the dish and are also so filling. Be sure to cut the sweet potatoes into even size pieces so they will roast up quickly in the oven with the rest of the veggies.
  • Brussels sprouts – brussels sprouts are one of my favorite fall/winter veggies and they work so well in this salad. If you haven’t made roasted brussels in the oven before, you are missing out on how delicious brussels sprouts can be!
  • Red onion – red onion when roasted in the oven turns from a bitter veggie into a sweet, lusciously delicious veggie that takes this dish to the next level. Trust me the red onions in this are 100% needed in this recipe (don’t omit them unless you are allergic or following a low FODMAP style diet).
  • Olive oil, salt and garlic powder – olive oil helps the brussels sprouts get crispy and caramelized when roasting. The salt and garlic powder help to make the brussels sprouts stand out. Be sure to stir the brussels well before roasting so the spices get well distributed.
  • Quinoa – quinoa is a great grain to use in fall salads. It’s technically a seed but stands up so well to the other veggies in this dish. You could also use other hearty grains like brown rice or wild rice but I love quinoa because it’s also packed with protein, making this vegan meal more filling. This salad needs cooked quinoa, if you don’t have any on hand, follow the instructions below on how to cook quinoa on the stove or in the instant pot.
  • Chickpeas – chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber and help this salad become even more filling and sustainable. Plus they are great for meal prep meals because no cooking is required when you buy them canned!
  • Apple – adding apple to this salad helps bring a touch of sweetness to this fall quinoa bowl and also provides a bit of crunch to the salad. I like to use fuji apples since they are sweet but also very firm (not mealy like other apples). You could also use pink ladies or granny smith apples if you prefer a less sweet apple.
  • Spinach, arugula or kale – make the best of your salad with your favorite fall greens! I love using baby spinach, arugula or shredded Tuscan (lacitino) or curly kale. To shred the kale, remove the stems then roll the leaves together like a log. Slice the log of kale into thin strips. The smaller pieces break down faster when you add the dressing.
Ingredients to make maple tahini dressing.

Maple Tahini Dressing

  • Tahini – tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds (like almond butter or peanut butter). Tahini is often used in middle eastern dishes, but I love it as a base for salad dressing. You can also use almond butter, sunbutter or cashew butter to make this recipe as well.
  • Apple cider vinegar – the apple cider vinegar helps bring brightness to the dressing and balance out the somewhat intense flavor of the tahini. You could also use balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice in this recipe.
  • Water – water helps to thin out the dressing, you can add as much or little water as you would like to make the perfect consistency.
  • Maple syrup – maple syrup sweetens the dressing and helps bring balance to the dressing. It also helps to enhance the sweetness of the roasted veggies when added to the salad.
  • Dijon mustard – Dijon mustard is one of my favorite ingredients to add to salad dressing. It has a unique flavor and helps bring umami to the dressing. Dijon is often used in many oil and vinegar based dressings to help emulsify the dressing (thicken it). It’s not necessary in this recipe for emulsification but is used primarily for the flavor. You can omit the mustard if you don’t have any on hand, it won’t impact the consistency of the dressing.
  • Salt – salt is always added to help amplify all the flavors and make an otherwise one note dressing pop with flavor.

How to make a fall grain bowl

Start by preheating the oven to 425F and lining a extra large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. If you don’t have an extra large baking sheet, you will need 2 baking sheets, both lined with parchment paper.

Cut up the veggies:

  • Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes, add them to the baking sheet. There is no need to peel the sweet potatoes unless you prefer them peeled.
  • Quarter the brussels sprouts. Start by cutting off any brown woody bottoms from the brussel sprout. From there, cut the sprout into 4 quarters, lengthwise. Add the brussels sprouts to the baking sheet.
  • Cut the red onion in half lengthwise. Peel away the skin. Cut the top and bottom off each half. Cut the red onion half into cubes by cutting down the onion in 4 equal cuts, then turning the knife and cutting the other direction in 4-5 equal cuts. Repeat with the other half. Add the onions to the baking sheet.
How to chop veggies for fall quinoa salad.

Drizzle the brussels sprouts and red onion with the olive oil. Sprinkle the salt and garlic powder over the brussels sprouts. Stir them with a spatula or with clean hands (my preferred method).

Bake in a 425F oven for 30-35 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender (cooking time will vary based on how big you cut your sweet potatoes).

Before and after roasting veggies for fall quinoa salad.

While the veggies are roasting, make the quinoa if needed. You can cook quinoa on the stove – see tips below on how to cook quinoa.

Steps to making instant pot quinoa.

While veggies are roasting and quinoa is cooking, make the dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or jar and stir well with a small whisk or fork, making sure all the ingredients are well combined.

Steps to make maple tahini dressing.

Rinse and drain the chickpeas.

Allow the veggies and quinoa to cool at least 5 minutes before assembling so they don’t wilt the salad greens. Divide the salad greens between 4 dishes. Top the salad with the roasted veggies, quinoa (about ¾ cup each bowl) and the chickpeas.

  • Note: if you want to make a warm grain bowl, assemble the salads while everything is warm. If you want a room temperature or cold, allow the veggies and quinoa to cool for 10-15 minutes before assembling.

Thinly slice the apple and divide it between bowls. I like to wait until right before serving to do this so the apple doesn’t start to brown.

How to thinly slice apple.

Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.

Maple tahini dressing being poured over harvest grain bowl.
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Top tips for making a fall buddha bowl

  • Time saving tip: Prep the quinoa ahead in large batch using instant pot. You can also freeze quinoa for up to 3 months in freezer safe bags so you can always have cooked quinoa on hand. You can also buy frozen cooked quinoa at Trader Joe’s and in many other supermarkets. You could also use frozen brown rice or instant rice if you don’t have quinoa on hand.
  • Be sure to rinse the quinoa well before cooking so it’s not bitter or soapy tasting.
  • There is no need to peel the sweet potatoes. The peel on the sweet potato is full of fiber.
  • Be sure to cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes to ensure they roast up quickly. The sweet potatoes are what will take the longest to roast.
  • You can roast chickpeas to make them crunchy like croutons. To roast chickpeas coat the chickpeas in olive oil or avocado oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the chickpeas in a preheated 450F oven and roast for 25 minutes. When done roasting, turn off the oven and allow the chickpeas to rest in the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter.
  • Massage the kale with 1 tablespoon of the dressing ahead of time. If you choose to use kale as the base of your warm grain bowl, massage the thinly sliced kale with dressing before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. The acid in the dressing helps to break down the kale so it’s not so tough.

Other veggies you could add to this salad

  • Carrots – cut into 1 inch pieces before roasting
  • Beets – red or gold beets would work so well in this salad. Peel and cube the beets into ½ -1 inch cubes before roasting.
  • Bell peppers – red, yellow or orange are best in this fall buddha bowl. Cut into strips then cut into bite-size pieces before roasting
  • Butternut squash – peel and cut into ½ -1 inch cubes before roasting.
  • Kabocha squash – no need to peel this squash, simply cut into cubes and roast skin side down.
  • Cauliflower – cut into bite-size florets before roasting. You will want to add olive oil and salt to the cauliflower for the best flavor after roasting.
  • Broccoli – you can also roast broccoli to go along with this salad, however after about 25 minutes in the oven broccoli can start to burn, so you may need to put the broccoli on a separate sheet pan and remove it after 25 minutes. It could cook with the onions if you are using 2 sheet pans.
Fall quinoa salad in bowl with bottle of dressing in background.

How to add more protein to this salad

This vegan quinoa bowl is already high in protein thanks to the quinoa and chickpeas. If you want to add more protein, you could add:

How to cook quinoa

This recipe uses cooked quinoa, so if you don’t have any on hand from meal prep or from the freezer, you will need to cook quinoa while the veggies are roasting. So you know, 1 cup of dry quinoa makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. For this recipe, you will need to cook 1 cup of dry quinoa in water.

There are 2 simple ways to make quinoa:

  • Stovetop: Rinse and drain the quinoa. Add quinoa to a medium pot with 1.5 cups of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil then immediately turn down to low. Simmer for 15 minutes until quinoa has absorbed all the water. Turn off heat and remove the lid, fluff quinoa with a fork.
  • Instant Pot: Rinse and drain the quinoa. Add the quinoa and 1.5 cups of water to the instant pot. Place on high pressure for 1 minute, allow the pressure to naturally release at least 10 minutes. See all my tips on how to cook quinoa in the instant pot.

How to meal prep this warm grain bowl

  • Prep the quinoa ahead and store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Cube and roast the veggies, store the veggies in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Make the dressing and store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Right before serving, reheat the roasted veggies in a 425F oven for 10 minutes or in the air fryer for 4 minutes at 390F.

While veggies are roasting, slice the apple into thin slices. If you need to slice the apple ahead of time squeeze lemon juice over the apple to keep it from browning.

Assemble the salads and pour the dressing over right before serving.

TIP: If you want to fully assemble the salads ahead of time, combine all the ingredients (quinoa, veggies, chickpeas, apples and dressing) except for the salad greens. When it’s time to eat, add salad greens to the bottom of the bowl and add the prepped ahead salad, stir well. Note: If you are using kale, you can prep the entire salad ahead and store it in the fridge up to 3 days.

Warm harvest salad in a white bowl without dressing.

Storage

  • Fridge: Salad greens start to wilt once you add dressing, so leftovers of this salad fully assembled will only last about 24 hours. If you do not add the salad greens, you can store this salad 3-4 days in the fridge in a well-sealed container. If you use kale as the base, you can store the entire salad kale and all in the fridge up to 3 days.
  • Freezer: You can freeze quinoa and the dressing for later use, but I would not recommend freezing the veggies after roasting, as they will not have the right texture when defrosted.

Substitutions

  • Veggies: See the list of veggies above to find substitutions that would work for you.
  • Quinoa: You can also use brown rice, wild rice, amaranth, or sorghum in place of the quinoa.
  • Chickpeas: You can also use cannelinin beans or great northern white beans in place of chickpeas. If you cannot tolerate chickpeas or beans, you can omit the beans completely. To get more protein, you could add chicken, salmon, shrimp, tofu, or hemp hearts.
  • Apple: Apples help to add sweetness to the salad. You could also use pears in place of apples or omit them completely.
  • Tahini: tahini is made from sesame seeds and is therefore nut free, to keep this recipe nut free, you could use sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) in place of the tahini. If you do not need to be nut free, you could also use almond butter or cashew butter in place of the tahini.
  • Apple cider vinegar: You can use balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice to replace the apple cider vinegar, each of these options will change the taste but all will be great!
  • Dijon mustard: The mustard is just for taste, you could also use a grainy mustard in place of the Dijon. If you don’t have mustard or don’t love mustard, simply omit it.
  • Maple syrup: The maple syrup helps add a touch of sweetness to the dressing and balances out the bitterness of the tahini and the sharpness of the apple cider vinegar. You could also use honey (not vegan) or date syrup in place of the maple syrup. If you prefer a less sweet dressing, simply omit the maple.

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Fall quinoa salad in white bowl with dressing drizzled on top.

Fall Quinoa Salad

$11.43 Recipe/$2.86 Serving
Fall quinoa salad is the perfect autumn inspired lunch or dinner! This warm grain bowl is packed with flavor and has an irritable maple tahini dressing. Naturally vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free and nut free.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fall buddha bowl, fall quinoa salad, warm grain bowl
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 4

Guided Recipe Video

Ingredients

Buddha Bowl

  • 2 medium red onion, cut into large pieces - $0.66
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, cubed - $0.99
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, quartered - $2.79
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil - $0.22
  • 1/2 tsp salt - $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder - $0.05
  • 3 cups quinoa (cooked) - $1.12
  • 1.5 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained - $0.99
  • 1 medium apple (fuji, pink lady or granny smith), thinly sliced - $0.79
  • 8 cups organic arugula or baby spinach - $1.99

Maple Tahini Dressing

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425F. Place parchment paper on an extra large baking sheet or line 2 regular baking sheets with parchment.
  • Cube the sweet potatoes, add them to the baking sheet.
  • Cut the brussels sprouts into quarters, add them to the baking sheet.
  • Cut the onions into large chunks. Cut the onion in half, remove the skin. Cut each half into strips lengthwise then again widthwise to make large cubes.
  • Drizzle the brussel sprouts and onions with olive oil. Sprinkle the brussels with the salt and garlic powder. Stir the brussels to ensure they are well seasoned.
  • Place in a 425F oven for 30-35 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft and fully cooked.
  • While the veggies are roasting, cook the quinoa if needed. You will need 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry + 1.5 cups of water).
  • Make the Maple Tahini Dressing by combining the ingredients in a small bowl or jar and whisking with a small whisk or fork to ensure no lumps.
  • Rinse and drain the canned chickpeas.
  • Allow quinoa and veggies to cool at least 5 minutes before assembling the bowls.
  • Add 1/4 of the salad greens to the bowl. Add 1/4 of the quinoa, veggies, and chickpeas to the bowl.
  • Thinly slice the apple and divide it between the bowls. Pour the dressing over and serve.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
656
Fat
 
19
g
Carbohydrates
 
104
g
Fiber
 
21
g
Sugar
 
23
g
Protein
 
23
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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Bottle of maple tahini dressing with spoon in front of bottle.
Maple Tahini Dressing
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