Embrace the cozy vibes of fall with a delightful spinach quinoa salad with feta cheese. This hearty salad celebrates the earthy flavors of the harvest season, combining the nutty texture of quinoa, the tangy crumble of feta, and the sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes. Tossed in a homemade quinoa salad dressing, each bite is a burst of robust flavors!
The perfect fall quinoa salad with homemade dressing
Every fall season, I like to add a new salad or two to my seasonal recipes. I always make my fall harvest salad and this cranberry quinoa salad on rotation, but this year I wanted to try something new.
That’s when I came up with the idea for a spinach quinoa salad with feta cheese and sweet potatoes. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint!
This spinach harvest salad is a recipe that truly captures the essence of fall.
It combines the earthy flavors of the harvest season with the creamy tanginess of feta cheese and the rich, tart notes from the pomegranate seeds. The sweet potatoes add a touch of autumnal sweetness that perfectly complements the salty feta cheese.
The real star, however, is the homemade quinoa salad dressing! It’s incredibly easy to make and takes this salad to the next level. Trust me, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought dressings again after trying this one.
Make this fall salad and enjoy the delicious combination of flavors and textures!
Here’s a bit more about what I used:
- Spinach: Using fresh baby spinach leaves adds a nice crunch to the base of this harvest salad.
- Sweet Potato: Roasted sweet potatoes add a touch of sweetness and earthiness to the dish. They make the perfect fall vegetable!
- Quinoa: This tiny grain packs a punch of protein and adds a nice texture to the salad.
- Feta Cheese: Adding crumbled feta cheese brings in a salty tang that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. I recommend buying an 8 oz. block of feta and crumbling it yourself for the best flavor.
- Pomegranate Seeds: These little gems add a pop of color and burst of sweetness to the salad. You can buy them pre-seeded or remove the seeds from a fresh pomegranate.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Sprinkle in some of your favorite pumpkin seeds to add a seasonal crunch to the salad. You’ll need about a 1/2 cup.
- Almonds: Chop up some salted almonds for added crunch, protein, and flavor.
- Red Onions: Adding a bit of thinly sliced or diced red onion gives the salad a nice bite and some added color.
- Apple Cider: Using apple cider as the base of this dressing adds a nice sweetness to balance out the tanginess.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Besides apple cider, using apple cider vinegar brings in a nice tangy flavor that pairs well with the sweet notes. You’ll need 2 tablespoons.
- Olive Oil: Use good quality extra virgin olive oil to add a smooth and rich texture to the dressing.
- Shallot: Adding some finely diced shallot adds a subtle onion flavor to the dressing. If you can’t find shallots, you can use a small amount of red onion instead.
- Dijon Mustard: With a couple of tablespoons of Dijon mustard, you’ll get a nice creamy texture and a bit of a spice kick.
- Maple Syrup: When I think fall, maple syrup comes to mind. Add 1 tablespoon for some natural sweetness. You can also use honey if you would like.
- Salt and Pepper: Don’t forget to season your dressing with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Kitchen tools required
Here’s a bit more information about what I used to make this spinach harvest salad…
- Salad bowl
- Salad tongs
- Glass mixing cup
For measuring, you will need a cup, 1/2 cup, and 1/4 cup, a tablespoon, and a teaspoon.
How to make fall quinoa salad with feta
First, let’s get all those veggies and salad ingredients prepped by cooking and chopping them up. To make the sweet potato cubes, boil or roast the sweet potatoes until they are tender, and then let them cool before dicing into cubes. Keep it plain, or make them glazed or seasoned with chili lime.
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions, usually a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa.
Now it’s time to make the quinoa salad dressing! In a glass mixing cup, whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set it aside.
Now, in a big bowl, add the spinach, sweet potatoes, quinoa, feta, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and red onion.
Pour that delicious dressing over the top and give it a gentle toss.
Now, it’s time to enjoy!
Below are some common quinoa salad questions. Don’t see the answer you’re looking for? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post!
Can I use a different type of cheese instead of feta?
Absolutely! Some other great options could be goat cheese, blue cheese, or even parmesan. Get creative and use your favorite cheese for a unique twist on this salad.
Can I make the quinoa salad dressing ahead of time?
Yes! In fact, making the dressing ahead of time allows the flavors to meld together even more. Just store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
Can I add protein to this spinach quinoa salad?
Just add it in with the other salad ingredients before adding the dressing.
Should I roast the pumpkin seeds?
Roasting the pumpkin seeds adds a delicious crunch to the salad, but it’s completely optional. If you prefer raw pumpkin seeds, feel free to skip this step.
I can’t find pomegranate seeds. What else can I use?
If fresh pomegranate seeds are not available, you can substitute with dried cranberries or chopped apples for a similar texture and flavor.
Store any remaining salad and dressing separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Toss together before serving.
If you liked this recipe, you’ll want to try these!
Here are some of my favorite fall recipes you should make next. Enjoy!
- White Bean Kale Sausage Soup
- Whipped Feta With Hot Honey
- Fall One-Pan Chicken and Veggies
- Healthy Pumpkin Banana Muffins
- Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole
Recipe by Erin Morrissey and Photos by The Mindful Hapa
- 16oz spinach
- 2 large cooked sweet potatoes, diced into cubes
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 8oz block feta, crumbled
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup chopped salted almonds
- 1/2 red onion, diced small
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 shallot, minced small
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Prepare all veggies and salad ingredients by cooking and chopping.
- In a glass mixing cup, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add spinach, sweet potatoes, quinoa, feta, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and red onion.
- Pour dressing over top and toss gently. Enjoy!
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