I’m sorry, what was that?
Oh, I promised you a butternut squash recipe ages ago but never delivered? Why didn’t you say something sooner?
This was supposed to be the dish that I was going to bring to my “fancy” potluck lunch/dinner but ended up skipping after I started to feel under the weather. Truthfully, I’m not sorry that I got sick and couldn’t go. I was very happy eating this for lunch for an entire week and I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt for being so selfish.
I’ve had the idea of making a butternut squash and quinoa dish for a couple of months actually but just never got around to trying it. I liked the idea of veggie and grain side dish for a potluck, so this seemed to fit the bill. I ended up having a game day switch when at the last minute I decided to use red quinoa instead of regular for an extra pop of color.
This was my very first time cooking quinoa, and I’ll admit, I was a bit intimidated. Turns out, there’s not much too it and it is very similar to cooking cous-cous. Oh, and we should clear something up in the beginning just so that we’re on the same page. Quinoa is pronounced Keen-wa. All of my life (minus the first 23 years when I didn’t know quinoa existed), I thought you pronounced it Kwin-noah. Not so my friends. So please don’t go around mispronouncing it and making a fool out of yourself. Secretly, I like my way better and still pronounce it incorrectly in my head whenever I think of it, but that’s ok.
Alright back to the butternut.
Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2” cubes
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced (or approx. 1/2 tsp of pre-minced garlic)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked red quinoa (rinsed if it’s not already pre-washed)
- 2 cups of packed fresh baby spinach, chopped
- optional: crumbled goat cheese and balsamic reduction sauce
To get started, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. After you’ve chopped your squash and onion, place in a large bowl. Add in the garlic, cinnamon, honey, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to evenly coat everything. Pour squash mixture in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let your veggies roast until the edges start to brown (about 35-40 minutes). While your veggies are in the oven, prepare your quinoa per the box’s instructions. In a large serving bowl, toss together the quinoa, veggies, and spinach. Serve with crumbled goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic reduction sauce.
For my balsamic reduction, I actually used the bottled stuff which I’m quickly becoming obsessed with. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own balsamic reduction, I think any vinaigrette dressing would taste great on this. I also wouldn’t shy away from adding nuts on top. Walnuts, perhaps?
I also love that this can be served warm or cold and tastes great either way!
Have you ever tried quinoa? Thoughts?
I think that quinoa is a great, nutritionally dense grain but is also pretty ‘blah’. I don’t think I would ever eat it on its own, but it’s not so bad once you jazz it up with some flavor!