This lemony quinoa is the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving dinner. It pairs well with all types of cuisine and can easily be made ahead.
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 it a great accompaniment to everything from Thai food to Italian. I’m considering making it a part of my Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Update October 2020:
Since I first published this lemony quinoa recipe, it has become a favorite Thanksgiving recipe both in my house and in many of my readers’ homes. Though I usually serve it as a side dish, it easily becomes a main dish with the addition of chickpeas, baked or air fried tofu, or rehydrated soy curls. It’s a dish that you can make ahead and then reheat just before serving, allowing you to concentrate on the other parts of your vegan Thanksgiving dinner.
Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash
- 10 ounces butternut squash (about 2 cups cubed)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup uncooked 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 lightly toasted pine nuts (about 7/10 ounce) 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.
- Add 1 16-ounce can of drained chickpeas when you add the squash to the quinoa.
- Cover 1 cup of soy curls with vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand until they are softened. Drain them well and add them with the lemon juice.
- Bake or air fry one package of tofu, following this recipe. Add with the lemon juice.
Nutritional info is approximate.