Thursday, April 5, 2012

Quinoa With Roasted Butternut Squash and Pecans

So check it out - these photos were all taken in my backyard a couple of days ago.  The cats stretched out, chewing on new shoots of grass while I snapped away.  Every once in awhile they'd stop chomping and start horking and give me a look like "she's still at it - that quinoa must be cold."  Oh the feline attitude I deal with.  I'm totally loving these days of longer light and the ability to shoot outside again.  I've gots the springtime fever I tell ya!  There are baby buds on trees and life is popping out allover.  Spring just oozes possibilities and I'm totally digging it.  

This butternut squash came into my life for the purpose of making this truly awesome soup.  But, um, that didn't happen.  Not sure why, but I just didn't get around to it.  Stuff happens.  Then I had a craving for quinoa (it happens) and thought, why the hell not put them together?  I mean, roasted butternut squash, with the addition of a little brown sugar, is one of my fave things on the planet.  Do it.  For this recipe you only need half of a squash (there can be too much of a good thing sometimes) so go ahead and save the rest for soup or these ravioli I spotted over at Julie's.  Yum and more yum. 

Then to the jumble I added toasty roasty pecans, some dried cranberries, a little green onion for bite and fresh basil for fun.  Mingled together in a maple lemon vinaigrette, it's a great side or a tasty (and healthy!) one pot deal-e-o, cuz remember how quinoa is a complete protein source, right?  So go ahead and tuck into it while you watch your favourite guilty pleasure television program, like Fashion Star, or America's Next Top Model, or Dancing With The Stars.  Don't lie to me, I know you are watching it.  Oh, and hey, Easter is just about here.  Need a vegetarian/vegan/ gluten free friendly dish to feed your friends and fam?  This is it.  How kind and considerate of you!  Have a Happy Easter all.  Don't eat too many chocolate eggs, and don't forget to go outside and play.

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pecans

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup quinoa, rinsed very well
1 cup pecan halves, toasted (place on bake sheet in 350*F oven for about 10 minutes, stirring halfway)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 green onions chopped
handful basil, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice and zest of 1 lemon, maybe 2
1 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 *F.  Line a bake sheet with parchment.  In a large bowl, toss together the squash, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place on sheet and roast for about 20 minutes.  Add the brown sugar and stir around.  Roast until done, another 10 minutes or so.  Remove from oven and set aside.
To cook quinoa, place it in a saucepan with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, until tender.  Drain through a fine mesh sieve.  Return to pot, cover and steam 5 more minutes.
In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, HALF of your roasted squash (save the rest for soup or another culinary purpose) the pecans, cranberries green onions.  In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, maple syrup, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Pour over the quinoa mixture and stir in the fresh basil.  Season with salt and pepper and more lemon, if needed.  Serve warm or at room temp.  Right now I'm thinking a little feta cheese sprinkled over each serving would taste mighty fine.  Wish I would have thought of that sooner :)  Serves 4 as a side dish. 


  1. Looks awesome Renee! Happy Easter :)

  2. Great quinoa recipe. The maple lemon vinaigrette sounds really yummy! LOL - your cats attitude. Happy Easter to you:)

  3. Isn't the spring light wonderful? So much better for photography. This is so beautiful and colorful too!

  4. Lovely looking quinoa dish. Indeed, why the hell not? I'm sure quinoa and butternut squash went together well. Glad to hear you and the kitties are getting some nice weather. It's already pretty warm here in TX. So much for spring....

  5. A craving for quinoa? I don't quite believe you, but how do you manage to make even healthy food look irresistable?

  6. It is with sadness that I will retire the butternut squash till the next season.

  7. Thanks everyone! LOL Tracy! Bellini, this too is the last incarnation of butternut squash til the fall - it's a good way to go out!

  8. Wish I could get some butternut squash at this time...the salad looks unbelievably delicious and refreshing.

  9. Renee, This is so my kind of dish. I love all of those flavors all mixed together. And quinoa is one of my favorites these days - so satisfying!
    I hope you had a good Easter:)

  10. This looks great, I think quinoa goes with everything!

  11. It's as if you took the recipes from my head and put them on your website. You've gained a new fan :)

  12. This recipe look fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  13. While I have lurked here for a while and tried several recipes (all which have been great), I have to tell you that this salad is absolutely amazing. I've made it several times this summer, always to rave reviews. Thank you so very, very much!


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