Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quinoa and Winter Squash Bake

I cannot stress enough how delicious this quinoa and winter squash bake was.  All I can tell you is that Mark and I basically ate the entire thing ourselves throughout a week for both lunch and dinner, and we were  both thrilled.  It is a filling, hearty, warm vegetarian dish that is perfect for both fall and winter; it has winter squash, so that's wintry, and also pepitas and dried cranberries, which is very fall-ish.

So let's talk about this bake.  It's made in a pie plate which is adorable, and it's full of delicious treats besides the pepitas and cranberries which give it such a great texture.  It has both mashed and cubed roasted squash, and heaps of fresh herbs - marjoram, rosemary, sage and thyme (I have no idea what marjoram is and so it didn't go into my bake).

The recipe calls for flax to make it vegan, but I used eggs; one egg replaces one tablespoon of ground flax, so I used 3 eggs and it all held together beautifully.  You can actually cut it like a pie.  I also used a squash different than the butternut that it recommends.... although I am still not totally sure what it was.  Kenzie brought it home from a friend at work.  It was round and green and stripy and bumpy... but hey it was good!  I think any squash would work fine.

This was exquisite the night I made it; it was creamy from the mashed squash, but had a crunch from quinoa and pumpkin seeds, and little pops of surprise sweetness from the Craisins.  It was literally one of the best things I've made in a while.


quinoa and winter squash bake
from The Kitchnn
serves 8

1 1/2 pounds butternut or other winter squash
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing dish and brushing on top
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs (or to be vegan, 3 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons dried currants or chopped dried cranberries


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Peel and cut the squash into 1/2-inch cubes.  Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast until tender, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 350 degrees.

2) Mash half the squash using a fork.  Add the mashed squash to the 3 eggs (or to the mixture of flax and water) and stir with a fork until well-combined.  Set aside.

3) Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and herbs and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and translucent.  Transfer to a large bowl.

4) Add the quinoa and mashed squash-egg mixture to the bowl along with paprika, nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and a few cracks of black pepper.  Stir until well-combined.  Add the remaining cubed squash, pumpkin seeds, and currants/cranberries, and stir until combined.

5) Transfer the mixture to a greased 9-inch pie plate or a similar-sized oven-proof dish.  Press it down firmly and evenly and brush a little olive oil on top.  Bake until set and edges are browned, about 40 minutes.

6) Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.  Leftovers will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to a week.
A teacher's best friend at work is a great lunch :)

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