Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Avocado and Pomegranate | www.floatingkitchen.net

Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Avocado and Pomegranate

When it comes to Thanksgiving, are you on Team Salad or Team No Salad?

Me? I’m a die hard member of Team Salad. I will never turn down the opportunity to eat a big, colorful salad. And Thanksgiving Day is no exception to that rule.

My Dad, however, plays for Team No Salad. His argument goes something like this: why would anybody want to waste stomach space on salad, which you could easily consume any other day of the year, when there are so many other side dishes and desserts at your fingertips.

OK. So I sort of get his point. Stomach real estate is definitely at a premium on Thanksgiving Day. But I’ve been practicing my stomach stretching skills, so I think I’m ready. Bring on the salad! And all the other goodies too!

If you are on Team Salad, then you might consider making this Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Avocado and Pomegranate for your Thanksgiving feast. It’s super festive looking and full of Fall favorites. It’s gluten free and vegan. AND you can assemble it several hours in advance. Can I get a hallelujah?!?! Anything that doesn’t have to be prepped at the absolute last minute is a life saver on Thanksgiving Day.

And if you’re on Team No Salad, don’t worry because I’ve got a stellar dessert recipe coming up on Friday. I’m covering all my bases.



Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Avocado and Pomegranate

Serves 8-10

Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Avocado and Pomegranate


  • For the Salad
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Seeds from 1 scraped fresh vanilla bean pod
  • 1 dozen large brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds

  • For the Dressing
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper


  1. Make the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium-large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature to maintain a simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa with a fork and set it aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the butternut squash and cauliflower in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cinnamon and vanilla bean seeds. Pour this over the butternut squash and cauliflower, tossing to combine. Then spread the vegetables out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and have started to brown in a few places, tossing once during this time. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Make the dressing. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
  4. Finish the salad. Add the cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, cauliflower and shredded brussels sprouts to a large bowl. Drizzle in about half of the dressing, tossing to combine. Then add in more dressing based on your taste preferences. If you are preparing this salad in advance, cover and refrigerate it at this point. The salad can stored in your refrigerator for several hours. Then before serving, gently fold in the chopped avocado, pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds. Serve and enjoy.
  5. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 day.

25 comments on “Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Avocado and Pomegranate”

  1. I’m definitely team salad on Thanksgiving (and any other day), especially if it involves a colorful dish like this! I think this would impress everyone at Thanksgiving, Liz! I love the quinoa and brussels sprouts in here. Sounds just perfect!

  2. I’m an avid team player on Team Salad, and this one’s fantastic! I’m loving all the health benefits in there, and this avocado and pomegranate thing you’ve got going on sounds soooo good! Can I play on your team on Thanksgiving? Cause that’d be swell. 😉

  3. team salad TEAM SALAD! Especially when it includes brussels and squash 🙂

  4. Team salad, all the WAY! I need something to balance out all that pie, ya know? 🙂

  5. No matter what day of the year, I’m ALWAYS on team salad 😉 This one looks especially scrumptious, Liz! I love all the delicious fruit and veggie flavors coming together with the quinoa.

    • Thanks, Nora. Yeah I kind of threw everything I love (and had in my refrigerator, let’s be honest!) into this salad.

  6. Team Salad for the win! I say it’s all about balance….have a bite of salad….have two pieces of pie. #winning

  7. So this is going to sound ridiculous but I am definitely team salad! Although every single year I forget to put one on my menu!! haha I can be a mess sometimes 🙂 This looks wonderful!!

  8. This looks so delicious- I love this salad and I am such a fan of salads 🙂 Pinning!

  9. It’s takin’ me a while to be a player on Team Salad Liz, but I actually enjoy salads now!! This one looks like it’s loaded with lots of my favorite ingredients, so I’m sure it will be a winner! Love the maple syrup in the dressing too! Yum!

  10. I am with you, girlfriend! Team Salad ALL the way! I do understand your Dad’s point of view though. However, I have mastered my stomach stretching skillz too.. so I have plenty of room for all the sides to join in my belleh’s partay! This salad is seriously GORGEOUS, Liz! Super festive and with all those delicious ingredients it sounds magically delish! No way can I wait until Thanksgiving to devour this one though! Totally happening before then! Pinned! Cheers! 😉

  11. Oh my! I LOL reading your post, Liz! Just imagining the debate you and your dad have regarding Team Salad or Team No salad! LOL! I’m with you – on your TEAM salad! Who cares about salad taking up real estate… that just leaves more room for PIE!! More salad means more pie later!! I love all the flavors you’ve packed into the festive holiday salad Liz, and the dressing is perfection! Thank you for this my dear! 😀

  12. Hhahah I am team salad but the in-laws are definitely team no salad. One year I brought salad and none of them ate it. The next year I made cranberry sauce and they hated it. So now..I bring salads every year for myself. I quit trying to please them lol! Love this salad!!

    • Oh that’s funny. Yeah, people can be pretty funny about what they will and won’t eat on Thanksgiving. A lot of times with my family, if it’s not traditional fare, then it’s out. But no cranberry sauce? Hmmm. Well, I guess you have to keep making some portions for yourself. 🙂

  13. Pingback: 50+ Healthy Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Recipes to Free Up Your Oven

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