Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Roasted butternut squash with quinoa, sausage and greens

Roasted butternut squash with quinoa, sausage and greens
Yes, the recipe is a mouthful -- both in name and in flavor.

Regular readers know that I'm continuing my participation in the From Scratch Club's virtual book club, in which a group of home cooks selects a cookbook and then makes and discusses some recipes from each chapter or section. We're currently cooking our way through Liana Krissoff's Whole Grains for a New Generation (we're lucky enough to have Liana participating in our online discussions, too!).

Our last grain topic was rice. This time, it's quinoa.

I've become a huge fan of quinoa over the past few years, in large part because it is easy to prepare while also being one of the few good-for-you grains that Mr. Ninj doesn't hate (See? No kids, yet I have my own picky eater to deal with).

I chose this recipe from Liana's book because I love butternut squash. Since I, too, often pair it with sausage, as is called for here, I knew I couldn't go wrong. Added bonus? Liana included a recipe for making your own quick sausage, which was easy and awesome.

(Apparently I wasn't alone in my choice: this was by far the most-selected recipe among all the book club members -- even the vegetarians and vegans, who used seitan sausage instead).

And did I mention it is gluten-free?

I modified Liana's recipe by omitting some sage and adding a whole boatload of spinach, stirred in just before serving so it wilts nicely, because I like the ease and convenience of one-bowl meals.

I loved this dish and envision it making it fairly regularly. Don't be skeptical of cooking the quinoa and the sausage together; it worked well. The sausage loses a little bit of its pan-fried crispness but I'm happy to sacrifice that for the convenience.

Good-for-you comfort food with a gorgeous presentation: what's not love?

Roasted Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Sausage and Greens
(adapted from Whole Grains for a New Generation)

Ingredients:
1 approx. 1.5-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
3 large shallots, quartered and sliced
Olive oil
10-12 ounces sweet Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 handfuls baby spinach (or arugula or kale)
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the squash and shallots with some olive oil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, heat a little olive oil in large saucepan and cook the sausage, stirring to break up large chunks, over medium-ish heat until browned (about 10-12 minutes). Use a paper towel to soak up any excess fat in the pan. Add the water, then stir in the quinoa and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the water is absorbed (this takes about 15-20 minutes). Remove the lid and stir in the spinach until just wilted.

Combine the quinoa mixture and the squash mixture gently in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

13 comments:

  1. Oh I love this idea of adding spinach! I'm making this as well (big surprise) and I tend to keep my grain to veggie ratios a bit more veggie heavy.

    I usually pair sweet potatoes with sausage.. but I've found a new love for butternut squash.

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    1. Isn't it hilarious how everyone gravitated toward this one recipe? It is SO good, though.

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  2. hmm...I have some venison sausage that I never seem to figure out how to use and I usually give it away. This could be a good recipe for that!

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  3. Oh, this sounds perfect! Big melanges like this are my favorite kind of dinner--such a nice contrast of textures and flavors, and in a full meal besides

    And Jennifer, if you really need to get rid of that venison sausage...I think we can help with that. :)

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  4. I'll take my place in line for that venison sausage, too!

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    1. A possibility! I never know what to do with it!

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  5. I've been collecting quinoa recipes and this looks like a good one to add to the list!

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  6. Picked up some yummy Italian sausage this weekend. I'm planning to make this tonight. Can't wait!

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    1. Don't forget to let me know what you think of it, Cristina!

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    2. OMG - would it be bad of me to admit that both Mario and I practically licked the bowl clean? Right off the bat Mario said this is a definite keeper.

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    3. Whoo hoo! So happy you liked it. It could definitely tolerate modifications, so spice up that sausage!

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  7. Next time going to try with spicier sausage.

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  8. Yumm, I thoroughly enjoyed this tonight. I added shiitake mushrooms with the squash and they crisped up abit adding another texture. Nice addition for a weeknight recipe. Thank You.

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