I have been taking full advantage of winter squashes since they started to appear in September, and this fall, squash of the butternut variety has been frequenting my meals more than any other. I love the smooth texture and how versatile it is. This quinoa dish is a perfect example of this squashes' versatility. It starts by roasting bite sized pieces of squash with lemon juice and ends by simmering the roasted squash pieces in the pot alongside the quinoa while it cooks. The quinoa and squash meet with the flavors of lemon, garlic, shallots, and thyme, and is finished off with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts and chives. Simple and delicious!
Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash
(from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen)
10 ounces butternut squash (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup chopped shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons (about 7/10 ounce) lightly toasted pine nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds and strings (using a grapefruit spoon makes this easier). Peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with the 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Place them on a non-stick baking sheet (or silicone mat), sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it well and allow to drain. Heat a deep, non-stick pot. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until shallots soften slightly. Add the quinoa and toast it until it has dried out and begins to exude a toasty aroma. Add the squash along with the thyme and vegetable broth. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook, stirring once or twice, until all broth is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon peel and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add more lemon juice if needed.
Serve with toasted pine nuts and chives sprinkled on top.
Servings: 4 large side-dish servings