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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

roasted-brussels-sprouts-quinoa-salad-with-cranberries-and-pecans

This Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad features a delicious combination of ingredients tossed in a flavorful citrus vinaigrette. This quinoa-veggie salad can be served warm and cold, and will make a delicious addition to your table, whether you’re serving it as part of a holiday meal or a scrumptious weeknight option. Thanks to the hearty, real-food ingredients used here, this salad leftovers also make good leftovers to enjoy in the days to come.

This recipe was originally published January 8, 2018; Updated October 25, 2022.

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A healthy Side Dish recipe

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad goes great with chicken, pork, or turkey. The citrus vinaigrette with fresh thyme complements the flavors of the meats. If you’re looking for a salad to make for a fall or winter gathering or to add to a holiday menu, this recipe is for you. It’s a little different then your typical salad or veggie side dish, and it’s both nutritious and delicious. Everyone will love it!

Recipe Highlights: Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad

  • Made with fibrous-rich foods, including Brussels sprouts and quinoa, that can help support healthy digestion
  • A delicious salad that’s perfect for fall and winter gatherings
  • Contains heart-healthy fats from the pecans and olive oil
  • Can be served warm or cold
  • Thanks to the hearty ingredients that stand up well in storage, the leftovers taste great
  • Gluten-free, and can be made dairy-free and nut-free with modifications

Ingredients to Make this brussels sprout quinoa Side Dish

These real food ingredients come together to make this unique and delicious salad:

  • Brussels sprouts a hearty vegetable that’s perfect for roasting
  • Garlic cloves
  • Olive oil – may substitute avocado oil
  • Pecans – omit these for a nut-free
  • Dried cranberries – may substitute dried raisins, dried cherries, or pomegranate seeds
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese – we also love this salad made with crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese crumbles. Omit cheese for a dairy-free or vegan salad
  • Quinoa – a hearty and nutritious addition
  • Orange and orange zest
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Fresh thyme leaves may substitute dried thyme
  • Fine salt & black pepper to taste

Find the ingredients list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa

Ingredient Spotlight: Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutrient-dense, gluten-free pseudo cereal, meaning the seeds of the plant are prepared and enjoyed much like a grain (similar to buckwheat and amaranth). There are many kinds, including red, black, and white. Quinoa is a good source of many important nutrients including zinc, folate, magnesium, iron, and copper. It’s also rich in protein and fiber which can help you stay satisfied longer.

More Quinoa-Filled Recipes

Tip!

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How to Make This Brussels Sprout Quinoa Salad with Citrus-Thyme Vinaigrette

This easy quinoa salad comes together in three simple steps:

  1. Roast the Brussels Sprouts: For perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts, we like to place the Brussels sprouts cut-side down on the pan. See more tips for roasting Brussels sprouts below.
  2. Cook the quinoa, make the vinaigrette, toast the pecans: While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, cook the quinoa, make the citrus vinaigrette, and toast the pecans.
  3. Combine the ingredients to make the salad: Simply add everything to a medium bowl and toss gently to combine. Serve this salad warm or cold.

Our Favorite Sheet Pan Set

We all love our set of NordicWare aluminum sheet pans for making sheet pan recipes like this one, as well as baked goods. NordicWare is 100% made in USA in Minneapolis, Minnesota (we love that, being from the Midwest ourselves) and because they’re sturdy (foods don’t burn easily on them) and made from pure, uncoated natural aluminum (aka, easy to clean!)

Check out this set

For the complete directions, ingredient amounts, and nutrition analysis that lists calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, and sodium per serving, scroll down to the recipe card below.

Glass storage container with lids stacked on each other.

How to Store This Salad

Store the leftovers in a glass storage container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Leftovers can be served warm or cold.

Shop Glass Storage Containers

Tip!

Toasting Pecans Is A Step Worth Doing!

Toasting is a great way to enhance the flavor of nuts and add a little extra crunch to them. We think that toasting nuts is always worth an extra 5 to 10 minutes. Our favorite methods are to toast nuts on the stovetop or directly in the oven.

How To Toast Pecans On The Stovetop: Place a skillet over medium heat. Add nuts to the hot skillet, and then heat until the nuts give off a toasted aroma, 4-6 minutes. Be sure to stay near the stove, watch them closely, and stir often to avoid burning. Once the pecans are fragrant and golden brown, remove from heat.

How To Toast Pecans In The Oven: Preheat the oven to 400℉. Place the pecans on a small sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning. Once pecans are fragrant and golden brown, remove from the oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to roast Brussels Spouts?

Roasting Brussels Sprouts is a favorite way to enjoy this cruciferous vegetable. We have a few tips up our sleeves for perfectly roasted Brussels:

– toss them lightly in avocado oil or olive oil

– buy Brussels that are (or cut them to) a uniform in size

– place the Brussels cut-side down on the pan

– do not toss the Brussels during the baking time

– bake until they are fork tender (not too soft) and golden brown on the bottom. 375℉-400℉ is a good temp range for roasting vegetables.

What can I use instead of the Parmesan cheese?

We love the addition of Parmesan cheese in this recipe! However if you would like to use a different cheese, some other delicious options are crumbled soft goat cheese and feta. Now if you are wanting to make this recipe dairy-free, simply omit the cheese.

Can I use a pre-made dressing instead of making my own?

The citrus vinaigrette dressing with fresh thyme is made with just a few ingredients and so simple. But you can make this salad even faster, if you’d like, but using a store-bought vinaigrette. Look for an oil-based vinaigrette that has an orange, lemon, or other citrus flavor.

When to Serve Brussels Sprout Quinoa Salad

This salad is like that piece of clothing you can dress up or down. It’s ‘fancy’ enough to serve at a holiday meal and also simple enough to serve as part of a weeknight meal. Here are a few occasion where this salad would make a great addition:

  1. Thanksgiving or holiday side-dish – with the roasted Brussels sprouts, citrus vinaigrette, pecans, thyme, and cranberries, this salad is a perfect side-dish to serve at holiday meal
  2. Weeknight meals – serve it with chicken or pork for an easy and delicious weeknight meal
  3. Meal prep salad – due to the hearty nature of the ingredients, this recipe is great for meal prep. It will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days

More Great Tasting Quinoa Salads

All Quinoa Recipes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad: Easy Substitutions to fit your dietary preference

Make this recipe dairy-free

Omit the Parmesan cheese to make this recipe dairy-free, or use your favorite non-dairy or vegan cheese

Make this recipe Nut-Free

Make this recipe nut-free by omitting the pecans. If you would like, you could substitute the pecans for roasted pumpkin seeds

Recipe

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad

Tender quinoa, perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and shaved Parmesan cheese are tossed in a delicious citrus-thyme vinaigrette, making this a delightful salad for fall and winter. It can be served warm or cold. 

Prep: 20 minsCook: 20 minsTotal: 40 mins

Ingredients

For the salad: 

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved (or quartered, if large)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ⅓ cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese*
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water

For the vinaigrette:

  • Juice of ½ orange
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Fine salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  2. On a sheet pan, combine the Brussels sprouts and minced garlic. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the Brussels so they are all cut-side down on the baking sheet (Tip: This helps them roast better and get more evenly browned).
  3. Roast in the oven until Brussels sprouts are tender and golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
  4. While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, in a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water plus a pinch of salt to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the quinoa and stir. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook for 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and let set for 10-15 minutes covered.
  5. While the Brussels sprouts and quinoa are cooking, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange juice, zest, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, and thyme; whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a serving dish, combine the roasted Brussels sprouts, cooked quinoa, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries. Pour the vinaigrette over all and gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm or cold.
  7. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

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Notes

*May substitute soft goat cheese or feta cheese crumbles for the shaved parmesan. For vegan or dairy-free, omit the cheese or use your favorite vegan cheese. 

**May substitute roasted pumpkin seeds for the pecans for a nut-free option, or omit pecans. 

How To Toast Pecans On The Stovetop:

Place a skillet over medium heat. Add nuts to the hot skillet, and then heat until the nuts give off a toasted aroma, 4-6 minutes. Be sure to stay near the stove, watch them closely, and stir often to avoid burning. Once the pecans are fragrant and golden brown, remove from heat.

How To Toast Pecans In The Oven:

Preheat the oven to 400℉. Place the pecans on a small sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning. Once pecans are fragrant and golden brown, remove from the oven.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe (a generous 1/2 cup)
  • Calories: 166
  • Fat: 8 g
  • (Sat Fat: 1 g)
  • Sodium: 190 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 20 g
  • (Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugar: 7 g)
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 2 mg

Dietary

© The Real Food Dietitians

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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

Stacie Hassing

Stacie Hassing

Stacie is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian from rural southern Minnesota where she, her husband and daughter reside with their two pups. She’s a co-founder of The Real Food RDs and content creator of simple and wholesome recipes. She loves all kinds of fitness and has a passion to inspire as many as she can live a healthier and happier life both in and out of the kitchen – the driving force behind the co-development of the The Real Food RDs brand.

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