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Quinoa and butternut squash salad in a blue bowl on a gold plate

Thai Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad (Vegan)

Thai Quinoa Salad with butternut squash, kale, and creamy ginger dressing. This easy quinoa salad recipe is vegan, gluten free, and perfect for meal prep lunches.
Course Main, Salad
Cuisine American, Thai
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 359kcal


  • Small saucepan
  • Baking sheet
  • Mixing bowls


  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 Tbsp. olive or avocado oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups lower sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 packed cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (lacinato or green curly kale)
  • 2 cups shredded red/purple cabbage
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil leaves

Creamy Ginger Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. tahini (sub cashew or peanut butter)
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet red chili sauce (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce (sub soy sauce if making plant-based)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss squash in 1 Tbsp. oil and a pinch of salt; spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until the squash is tender and lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, combine quinoa and broth in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and gently simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to slightly cool.
  • Prepare Creamy Ginger Dressing by combining all ingredients except olive oil in a small bowl; stir to combine. Gently stream in olive oil, whisking constantly, until dressing is smooth.
  • Add kale to bowl with quinoa, and toss to combine (the residual heat of the quinoa will help soften the kale leaves). Add cabbage, carrots, bell pepper (if using), and butternut squash. Pour dressing overtop and gently toss to coat. Stir in peanuts and fresh basil, and serve.


This salad can be enjoyed warm, chilled, or at room temperature. Enjoy as a stand alone meal, or paired with tofu, fish, or chicken. 
To Make Ahead. Feel like a meal prep master by prepping this salad at the beginning of the week, and enjoying on repeat for lunch.
To Store. This salad will last in the refrigerator up to 3 days (even after being dressed!). This salad DOES not freeze well and should not be frozen.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Sodium: 660mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 12g