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
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
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.