2 to 3 pounds butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cubed).*
Olive oil spray
2 cups quinoa, rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1 to 1½ cups Medjool dates (pitted and chopped)
3 Tbs. fresh sage (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
High-quality olive oil
*Frozen squash will not work in this recipe. If you purchase pre-prepped squash you will probably need about 1½ pounds.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place butternut squash on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast squash until fork tender. Depending on the size of the pieces of squash you have this should take 30 to 40 minutes.
Place quinoa in a large dry skillet. Roast over medium heat until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Add vegetable broth or water to quinoa in skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Stir frequently.
Remove quinoa from heat and set aside, still covered. Steam will complete cooking. Allow quinoa to cool slightly. Toss in roasted squash, dates, and sage leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Fresh sage can be expensive. Try subbing some poultry seasoning instead if this is a concern.)
Toss quinoa mix gently with a little bit of high-quality olive oil. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.
We added 8 ounces sautéed sliced mushrooms, 3 or 4 sliced green onions, and 2 cups baby spinach. Add the spinach while the quinoa is still warm so greens will wilt a little. Roast pumpkin seeds and serve on the side to add some nice crunchy texture to this dish.
If you or your friends or family do not like dates, try substituting chopped dried apricots or apples, or golden raisins. Whatever dried fruit you use, start with ¾ to 1 cup and add to suit your taste. If you don’t like the dried fruit at all, substitute some shredded carrots. Add carrot to warm quinoa to cook slightly.