October 07, 2011

Thanksgiving Week - Day 6: Butternut Squash and Apple Quinoa

It's the second-last day of vegan Thanksgiving Week, and that means its time for the main course! I knew that I wanted to incorporate squash into my menu in some way, but instead of relegating it to a side dish, I wanted to give it more of a starring role in the meal.

I think it can be hard for people to come up with a main dish to serve vegetarians or vegans at Thanksgiving as an alternative to turkey... But for me, I'm not looking for a meat substitute in my Thanksgiving meal like Tofurky - I would rather just fill up with more vegetables! But to turn this into a dish that packs a bit more protein than just vegetables, I added quinoa to create a heartier salad full of seasonal ingredients - butternut squash, apples, shallots, pecans, cranberries and pumpkin seeds!

All of these ingredients came together really well to make a delicious and colourful dish! I loved how every bite had so much going on, but at the same time, all of the flavours and textures were perfectly balanced. I'm sure any vegetarians at your dinner table will be happy to eat this instead of turkey, and everyone else will probably want to try it too!

Butternut Squash and Apple Quinoa
Adapted from 20 Minute Supper Club and Bret's Table

2 cups of peeled and diced butternut squash
3 tsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used the tricolour variety)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 small shallots, peeled and diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced peeled ginger
1 large apple, diced
1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your squash and toss with 2 tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes (or according to the package directions). Remove from heat and add the cranberries to the pot. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff quinoa with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Place the pecans and pepitas in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from the pan and add to the quinoa.

Add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Then add the apple to the pan and cook for a few more minutes, until the apple just begins to soften. Remove from heat and add everything to the quinoa mixture, stirring to distribute all the ingredients.

Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir to incorporate. Finally, mix in the chopped parsley.

Serve warm or at room temperature. (This also stores well in the fridge if you want to make it ahead of time).

Makes 4 servings as a main course, or 6-8 servings as a side dish.

This is my submission to the SOS Kitchen Challenge for October at Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

Don't Miss:
Thanksgiving Week - Day 6 at Once Upon a Cutting Board - Roasted Vegetable Galette - this would make another great vegetarian main dish!


  1. Stunning dish! And it sounds delicious, too--a perfect mix of fall ingredients. Thanks so much for submitting to the SOS Challenge this month! :)

  2. Looks like a wonderful fall salad, perfect for Thanksgiving. I am the same as you: give me more veggies, please! :)

  3. Thanks Ricki and Janet! I love creating meals with Fall ingredients right now!
    Happy Thanksgiving - I can't wait to see what you make for the holiday too!

  4. That looks so fantastic and delicious! I'll have to keep it on file for American Thanksgiving too.

  5. I know what I'm making for lunch - shall let you know how it goes love!

  6. @Miriam @ Sometimes I Veg

    Thanks! I'll have to link to these recipes again when American Thanksgiving rolls around...it's weird that ours is so much earlier!

  7. @Charlotte

    I'm so glad you're trying it - I hope you like it! It's a very adaptable recipe, so feel free to play around with the ingredients - maybe you'll come up with something even better!

  8. Once again a lovely recipe !! I'll try this one for sure !

  9. @agnès

    Aw, thank you! Hope you enjoy it!

  10. @Genevieve

    So I successfully made it for lunch, and it was beautiful, all my family were so impressed by the flavour combinations.

    I liked it so much I actually went on to cook your ginger-peanut noodles for dinner and again the sauce was divine.

    I can't wait to have a go at some more of your recipes

    (If you want to check out my not so pretty versions of your food - http://wp.me/p1ElC6-2O)

  11. @pennyforyourhealth

    I'm so happy to hear that both recipes were a success! Thanks so much for letting me know :)

    And I love that ginger-peanut sauce too...

  12. This looks amazing. I love making quinoa for my lunches during the work week, this will be the perfect autumn version!

  13. @rachelsdigestif

    Thanks! It makes a great lunch to bring to work because it's a bit more filling than a regular salad. I ate my leftovers for lunch a few days in a row and I loved it! It seemed to store well in the fridge and reheated fine in the microwave.

  14. What a gorgeous salad!!! I love the combination of quinoa and butternut squash. The addition of cranberries is just magical!

  15. @Heather @Gluten-Free Cat

    Thank you! I love adding cranberries to my salads, and they really goes well with all the other ingredients in this recipe! I was just checking out your blog and I see a lot of recipes that I would like too!

  16. This was phenomenal!! The flavor combination is to die for. And all the little extras make a big deal in this dish. Follow the recipe as written, and you will not be disappointed, promise.

  17. @Anonymous What a great comment to receive! I'm so glad the recipe was a success for you - thanks for trying it and for letting me know!



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