For an incredibly simple and delicious make-ahead picnic salad, you can’t go past this spiced pumpkin quinoa salad with walnuts.
Pumpkin, much like potato and beetroot is another wonderful salad foundation that can stand the test of time — always arriving at your picnic salad fabulous, never sad.
Much like our Asian coleslaw and quinoa beet salad, this spiced beauty gets better with time so can be made the day before and will keep wonderfully in the fridge for a few days.
Just remember always to add your leafy greens at the last minute to avoid them spoiling.
This pumpkin salad recipe is so easy to make even though roasting the pumpkin and cooking the quinoa may seem like extra work. These steps only add additional time with no real extra effort. It makes a wonderful salad addition to any fall picnic menu.
As we mention in our roast pumpkin and feta mini frittata recipe; if you are going to roast veg – roast a batch. The same goes for quinoa. Roasted pumpkin and quinoa will keep well in the fridge for a few days.
Both pumpkin and quinoa are so good for you and can be used in a myriad of other recipes throughout the week.
While this is essentially a vegan pumpkin salad recipe, a sprinkle of feta also lends itself beautifully to the flavours. Of course, you can always use vegan feta.
If you like a little more spice in your life, add chilli when coating the pumpkin in your spices.
Switch out arugula for any dark green of your choice. Remember to always add them just before serving, so they don’t go soggy.
Don’t like walnuts? Slivered or roughly chopped almonds work well as do pistachios, pine nuts or cashews. The choice is yours. I find whatever you choose, nuts that have been lightly toasted add better flavour and crunch to the salad.
What to Serve With Your Roast Pumpkin Salad
Serve this salad as a side to bbq meats, or an accompaniment to a mezze platter – The pumpkin spices work well with middle eastern style dips such as hummus and baba ganoush and flatbread.
It also works with a charcuterie picnic spread or even as a filling for picnic wraps.
As part of this fall-inspired picnic, we have teamed the pumpkin quinoa salad with pumpkin and fetta mini frittatas and smoked pumpkin hummus. It goes to show how pumpkin is such a versatile picnic ingredient.
I also find this salad makes a quick and easy pack and go picnic with some decent roast vegetables such as slow-roasted vine tomatoes, grilled eggplant, and roasted peppers.
Throw in a salty cheese, like goats cheese or feta, and either a crusty sourdough or some flatbreads, and you have a delicious Mediterranean style vegetarian picnic feast.
Another wonderful thing about this salad is can also be served as a warm salad – think cosy fall picnics. We have loads of tips on how to keep your picnic food warm here. If you do, it’s even more important to add your greens at the very last – arugula and spinach make great warm salad leaves but need to be added last.
Sensible Picnic Salad Storage Containers
S’well Stainless Steel Triple-Layered Vacuum Insulated Food Bowls
These stylish 2 in 1 containers (16 oz | 450 gm and 21.5 oz | 610 gm) are perfect for picnic salads. Triple-Layered Vacuum-Insulation keeps salads cold for hours and they can double as a serving bowl which is a great solution for no-mess kids picnic salads. They come in a range of gorgeous colours and designs to suit your picnic style.