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)

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

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.


  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.

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

  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!

  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. :)

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

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

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

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

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

    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.

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

  7. 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.