At the farmers’ market a couple of weeks ago, I picked up two butternut squash that were each about the length of my hand. Since I love roasting butternut with a touch of lemon, I was considering cooking them in that tried and true (but unimaginative) manner when I got the idea to roast one of the squash and mix it in with my favorite grain/seed, quinoa. The results were a light and lemony side dish that goes with practically anything.
I served it with baked tofu, gravy, steamed broccoli, and a salad for a sort of traditional American meal, but the lemony flavor makes a great accompaniment to everything from Thai food to Italian. I’m considering making it a part of my Thanksgiving dinner this year.
- 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.