Posts tagged ‘Spinach’

March 19, 2012

Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, and Spinach

A friend of mine made a pasta recipe for me a few years ago that I thought would work really well as a quinoa dish due to its earthiness. I’ve made this a handful of times and have been really happy with it. It is great as an entrée or as a side to a rotisserie chicken.

Butternut Squash Quinoa as a Side

Butternut Squash Quinoa as a Side

I meant to make this dish and blog it earlier in the cold, rainy season, but time escaped me. So you Portlanders and cooler climate folks may still want to make it this year but our Southern friends may want to earmark this for next fall. After all, this dish really does scream fall.


1/3 cup (2/3 stick) butter, divided

3 cups 1/2-inch cubes butternut squash (from 1-lb squash or short-cut with pre-cut bagged squash)

12-16 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, washed and stemmed, caps sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1 6-ounce package baby spinach

1+ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 c. quinoa (soaked and rinsed or buy pre-rinsed)

3-4 c. chicken broth (you could use water but chicken broth provides a lot more flavor)


Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions or vary a bit like I do. Most boxed quinoa calls for a liquid to quinoa ratio of 2:1 but I learned in a cooking class that this is a little too much liquid. (I think it’s more like 1.5:1.) That could account for why my quinoa sometimes came out a little on the soggy side. I’ve experimented a bit and found that I could start with a little less liquid than the package instructs and just add a little more towards the end of the cooking if necessary. Pour chicken broth into pot with quinoa. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low and cover. Cook for 20-30 minutes, checking on it occasionally to make sure you are not burning the bottom. (You could simmer at a slightly higher heat and cook for a little less time if you are in a hurry). Once liquid has cooked off and quinoa is tender, remove from heat and keep covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

After starting the quinoa, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add butternut squash. Brown and cook until almost tender (6-8 minutes).

Browning the Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

Browning the Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

Add shitakes, sage, and another tablespoon butter. Sautee until mushrooms and squash are tender, roughly 8-10 minutes. Add spinach and stir into squash and mushroom mixture until barely wilted (roughly 2 minutes). Mix in 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese and salt/pepper to taste. Then add quinoa to veggie mixture until you are satisfied with the ratio. Taste and salt/pepper more if necessary. Quinoa can be bland if you don’t season well enough.

After serving, sprinkle more grated parmesan cheese on top. With the ladies, I often serve this as an entrée, but it paired really well with a rotisserie chicken (ahem, store bought) when I served it for Mike.

Quinoa as a side for Rotisserie Chicken

The original pasta version can be found on epicurious: