Butternut squash has been calling to me from the supermarket shelf lately, especially since so many markets now offer it peeled and sliced and ready to go. All the hard work is done!
My friend Melinda reminded me of a quinoa and butternut squash salad recipe we both love because of its great combo of spice and citrus.
But I was wishing for a more wintry version of the salad, something hot and more like a stew. What I found was this recipe from an old Bon Appetit magazine, back when quinoa was not so well known.
The ancient Bolivian staple has made a splash in recent years because of its high protein content and low glycemic index. It appeals to vegans and those who are gluten-free. It's low in calories and fat too. It's even kosher. No wonder it was the sacred crop of the Incas!
The only problem is that it is pretty much tasteless, except for a very mild nutty flavor, so you have to pair it with stronger flavors to make it work.
This stew is the perfect answer. With a potent mix of Hungarian paprika, coriander, cumin, and ginger, then a nice contrast of lemon juice and the fresh clean taste of cilantro, it hits all the flavor notes.
And it hits our goals for the blog: easy, healthy, and cheap. The entire stew, which makes four to six servings, costs about $8.50 to make. And I even bought the more expensive fair-trade quinoa. The spiciness factor is relatively mind in this recipes, but feel free to kick up the cayenne if you like the heat! Add a little at a time Sally!
With Squash, Carrots, and Quinoa
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup water
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups 1-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in paprika and next 6 ingredients.
2. Add water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, make the quinoa according to package directions. Add butter to the boiling water. (Similar to rice, although it cooks a little quicker. It takes about 15 minutes to cook after the water boils. It should be fluffed after all the water is absorbed.)
4. When both quinoa and stew are done, mix together and add cilantro.
— Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe from Bruce Aidells and Nancy Oakes.
Per serving (based on 6): 253 calories, 9 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams sugar, 8 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 442 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.