Butternut Squash Quinoa

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little bit uninspired by my kitchen.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s just as pretty and accomodating as ever.  I just haven’t been feeling the…spark between us.

I got my kitchen mojo back tonight.

And all it took was getting out of my OWN kitchen.  So, technically, I guess I have to say, “cheating is fun”?

The kitchen that gets to take credit for my comeback belongs to my parents.  And it produced this:

That’s butternut squash quinoa “risotto” with bacon and kale.

I know.

I honestly couldn’t come up with another name that was shorter, all apologies.

This recipe was inspired by Emily’s Asparagus and Mushroom Quinoa Risotto.  I love risotto, but wanted something lighter tonight.  It must be early in the week- I’m clearly trying to detox from my weekend a little bit.  It’s not often that I feel the desire to cut back on the cheese and simple carbs.

I also had some leftover roasted butternut squash that I needed to use up.  If you don’t have any on hand and are too lazy to roast some before you make the risotto (I would be, no shame), I’ll bet that canned pumpkin puree would work well in this dish, so go for that.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Risotto with Bacon and Kale
serves 4

1 carton (24 oz) chicken or vegetable broth+2 cups water
3 slices bacon
1/2 medium red onion
1 cup dry quinoa
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
2 cups roasted butternut squash
1/4 cup skim milk (this could be vegan by using almond or soy milk)
salt+pepper
1/4 t rubbed sage
2 cups roughly chopped kale
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese+more for serving (optional- omit to make vegan)

1. Pour broth and water into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer.
2. Place butternut squash, milk, sage and salt+pepper to taste in a blender or food processor and puree.


3. Roughly chop bacon and fry over medium low heat in a medium skillet until fat is rendered and it is crispy. Remove from pan, reserving grease.
4. Add chopped onion to the skillet and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

5. Add quinoa to skillet and toast for about 5 minutes, until it becomes a bit fragrant.  Add wine (if using) and stir to incorporate.
6. Once wine has cooked off begin adding stock one ladle at a time, stirring after each incorporation.  Continue this process until the quinoa is cooked (I used about 5 cups of liquid total, taking approximately 30 minutes).

7. Add kale when there is one or two incorporations left.
8. Stir in butternut squash puree and reserved bacon.

9.  Stir in parmesan (if using) and season with salt and pepper.
10. Serve by ladling onto plates and sprinkling with additional parmesan, if desired.

This was such a good dish.   I love traditional risotto, but this version is so much healthier.  Plus, quinoa is a complete protein so it’s really a pretty balanced meal.  Win, win.

I guess cheating on my kitchen suits me.

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13 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Quinoa

  1. Are there leftovers? 😉

    Glad you got your kitchen groove back because this looks fricking amazing. Even if it did mean you had to cheat. I’m sure your kitchen will understand. And please, detox or no detox, promies me you’ll never cut cheese out of your life, ok? I was happy to see the parmesan on top of this masterpiece.

    But seriously, if you have leftovers….

    • I gotta say that, while this is delicious, it doesn’t have the real risotto feel. It’s still thick and creamy (TWSS), it’s just not as rich. Just so’s you know in case you make it.

    • Yay! I only used about 1/2 of my squash, so I’d recommend roasting yours a day or two before you make this so that you don’t have to do all the work on the same day. 😉

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