Enjoy this DASH-friendly Apple Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad for a filling and nutritious meal!
The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, has been recognized as one of the best diets for overall health for several years now. That's one thing that makes this non-diet dietitian a happy camper.
Unlike many of the other popular fad diets out there that promise unlikely results, the DASH diet is a fairly unrestrictive dietary pattern that is flexible, achievable, and healthy for almost anyone. While it's great for people who are looking to control their blood pressure with dietary changes, it's also just a generally sound eating pattern that emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, lean protein, and low-fat dairy - also known as healthy eating.
While the DASH plan discourages excessive salt, sugar, and alcohol, it doesn't completely cut out any food groups, which is why it's one of my favorite therapeutic diets. And if you cook at home, it's very easy to follow the guidelines and customize the plan to fit your own tastes, so you can enjoy tasty food that will make you feel great!
In this apple butternut squash quinoa salad, I combined many components in the typical DASH diet. It has whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and nuts, all with a heart-healthy olive oil dressing made with no salt. This salad is loaded with nutrition - filling fiber, plant protein, tons of vitamins (A, C and B vitamins) and minerals (potassium and magnesium). But the best part is that it tastes delicious! It's a sweet and savory combination that goes so well with any lean protein or makes an easy prep-ahead lunch on its own.
I like to cook my quinoa with homemade (no salt added) broth for more flavor. If you use store-bought broth or bouillon, be sure to look for low-sodium varieties to keep the sodium down in this recipe. Otherwise, this apple butternut squash quinoa salad is both DASH-friendly and delicious!
Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think in the comments!
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (from about 1 cup cooked)
- 2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Stemilt Piñata apple
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- For the dressing:
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
Recipe: Apple Quinoa Salad
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- Yield4-6 servings
- Prep time
- Cook time
- Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss butternut squash cubes with 1 tsp of the oil. Spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast 30-45 minutes or until softened, stirring halfway through.
- Place onions in the bowl and toss with remaining 1/2 tsp of oil. Place on the baking sheet with the butternut squash during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- While squash and onions are roasting, dice apple into 1/2-inch cubes and roughly chop pecans. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
- When squash and onions are done cooking, place in a large bowl with quinoa, apples, pecans, and cranberries. Pour dressing on top and gently stir to coat.
- Serve warm right away, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.