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Thanksgiving Quinoa & Butternut Squash

Thanksgiving Quinoa & Butternut Squash

Paula Nemzek for KCTS 9 Cooks


This beautiful, healthy and delicious side would be perfect as the main course of choice for any vegetarians on your holiday guest list, and might even replace traditional stuffing on your menu To avoid the oven logjam, roast the veggies a day ahead, bring them to room temperature and add to the hot quinoa before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled seeded and cubed (see tips for peeling the squash)
  • 1 whole red onion, cut in large dice
  • 5-8 large cloves garlic, with peel still on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 11/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed (You may use any color; red looks best in this dish.)
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • zest of 1 large navel orange (optional)
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large mixing bowl, toss cubed squash, onion, garlic cloves (with peel on) and olive oil until veggies are evenly coated with oil. Spread them out evenly over the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and set aside, removing the garlic peel and cutting the large garlic cloves in half. (Note that the roasted garlic has a mellow taste, but still packs a flavor punch.)

Meanwhile, on the stovetop, stir together quinoa, broth and orange zest in a saucepan. Cook according to quinoa package instructions.

In a large mixing bowl, add quinoa, roasted veggies, spinach, cranberries and pistachios. Gently toss to combine, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For a more traditional stuffing recipe, try this outside-the-bird version, created for KCTS 9 Cooks by Sarah Boyd.

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