Butternut Squash Quinoa Tastes Like Christmas Stew

I call this Tastes Like Christmas Stew.

Food & Wine’s recipe calls for couscous, but all I had was quinoa. I’d never cooked quinoa (sounds like key-NO-waa) before so why not try? It cooks like a grain, but it’s really a seed. Raw, it definitely looks like seeds. Bird seed, as Ashley put it. Cooked, it’s quite good though, and pretty funny looking….


There are lots of different grains (or seeds) out there, but we usually stick to what we know: wheat. Why not change things up a bit? The quinoa only takes about 15 minutes to prepare…. I’m getting ahead of myself here. Cooking the quinoa is one of the last steps. Let me back up. This dish is really a stew served over quinoa (or couscous). So, we’ll start with the stew…

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 butternut squash (2 pounds), diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups drained and rinsed canned chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley

Here’s what you do:

In a large soup pot (or dutch oven if you have one), heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic – stir together and cook another minute. Stir in tomatoes, squash, raisins, broth, and 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a simmer. Stir in chickpeas and cook, covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until squash is tender, about 10-20 minutes more. When it’s just about done, stir in the parsley.

butternut-squash stew

NOW, for the quinoa….

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa

What you do:

In a medium sauce pan, bring the water and 1/4 tsp of salt to a boil. Stir in the quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When all the water is absorbed, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Serve the stew over the quinoa and top with sliced almonds.

butternut-squash couscous

Critics (a.k.a. roommates) say: “Tastes like Christmas.” and “That tastes healthy!” (with a positive, delighted exclamation mark). Interesting contradiction, don’t you think? Christmas? Healthy? In the same dish? Is that allowed? Of course it’s also delicious, or I wouldn’t be telling you about it. The critics and I think it is at least. You’ll of course be the judge. Hope you enjoy!

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