Quinoa and Butternut Squash Gratin

March 22, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

This recipe was put together very quickly by using pre-peeled and cut butternut squash. However, it does take a little bit of oven time so if you’re starving you’ll have to wait a little bit for this to cook through. The original recipe called for gruyere cheese which I did not have on hand. I had plenty of parmesean, though, and it worked just fine. The result is a gratin that’s got a great balance of sweetness from the butternut squash and a fillingness from the quinoa.

Quinoa with Butternut Squash Gratin
Adapted from: Healthy Cooking – Suite 101

  • 1 20 oz. package peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup organic quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters
  • 1 cup shredded parmesean cheese
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 2-quart baking or gratin dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Dice butternut squash into small pieces. Place in bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in microwave for 3 to 5 minutes – until soft.

butternut squash

Wash the quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear.


Transfer squash and quinoa to a large pot.

butternut squash and gratin

Add water and salt to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Let squash and quinoa simmer until quinoa blooms into little spirals – about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.

butternut squash and quinoa

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a small frying pan. Add red onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook a minute or two longer. Add to quinoa and squash mixture and mix to combine.  (One version of this recipe called to transfer mixture into blender or food processor prior to the next step. I did not do that in this version but may try that next time.)

butternut squash and quinoa

Add egg substitute, 3/4 cup of the cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

butternut squash and quinoa

Transfer to baking or gratin dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese and panko over gratin. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on top.

butternut squash gratin

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

butternut squash gratin

butternut squash and quinoa gratin

Butternut Squash Polenta Bites with Brazilian Avocado Butter

January 11, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Snacks/Appetizers

This weekend, I sat in front of the television a bit more than I meant to. I flipped between some old movies on TCM (Alfie, Marty, etc.) and the Food Network.  On Ultimate Recipe Showdown the theme was “comfort food” which spoke directly to me in the mood I was in. One competitor created “Mini Pumpkin Corn Quesadillas with Brazilian Avocado Butter“.  Unfortunately, I did have to scrape myself off the couch and head out to the grocery store to get a few of the ingredients, but it was well worth the trip.

I’ve adapted the original recipe a bit and turned it into “Butternut Squash Polenta bites with Brazilian avocado Butter”. Also, the original recipe as written was a bit difficult to follow so I’ve tried to re-write it a bit to help with the preparation steps. It does take a little bit of stove manipulation, however.  I had three pans going at once. If it’s hard for you to multi-task, the final dish won’t be in jeopardy if you decide to cook each layer separately rather than at the same time.

The result of this dish is indeed a tummy warming comfort food that can be a main dish, side dish, or an impressive appetizer. The complex flavors blend well into a really delightful mouthful.

Butternut Squash Polenta Bites with Brazilian Avocado Butter
adapted from a Diana Davis recipe

Brazilian Avocado Butter:
1 ripe avocado
1 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 cup olive oil

Polenta Bites:
Vegetable cooking spray
12 (1/2-inch) slices plain polenta “chub” purchased form the market
Butter or olive oil, to saute
1/2 finely diced red onion
1/2 cup frozen or fresh pre-diced butternut squash
1/3 cup sweet corn kernels
12 (1/2-inch) slices drunken goat or other mild “meltable” cheese
Jalapeno jelly, for garnish (I found this in the jelly section of my local grocery store)

Prepare the avocado butter first. Cube avocado. (Slice avocado in half and remove pit. Dice avocado inside the skin by holding 1/2 of the avocado in one hand. Then make several slices vertically then horizontally. Turn skin “inside out” to remove avocado into bowl.) Put next four ingredients into bowl.

Blend with immersion blender until smooth. Add salt to taste. Set aside.

Cut polenta, onions and butternut squash (if not using pre-diced). Cover baking sheet with tin foil. And, slice cheese into 12 thin strips that are the size of the polenta rounds.

Heat large cast iron skillet or griddle on medium high heat. Spray with vegetable spray. Once heated, add polenta. Flip when each side is browned and crisp. (Be sure that the polenta is browned nicely as it adds a bit of contrast between the other items layered on top of it.)

Meanwhile, heat another pan and add butter. Once melted, saute onions and butternut squash until creamy.

Heat a small skillet and spray with vegetable spray, add corn and toast until corn begins to turn brown.

Once the polenta is browned, remove to baking sheet. When the corn and butternut squah/onion mixture are completed cooking, pre-heat broiler.

The bites are now ready to assemble.

Top each polenta round with avocado butter.

Add onion/squash mixture…

Then a bit of the corn.

Top with the cheese.

Place under broiler until cheese melts.

Serve with a garnish of the jalepeno jelly.

Stuffed Butternut Squash

November 03, 2008 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Not really a fan or brussel sprouts or afraid to try them in the first place? The filling in this butternut squash, which includes brussel sprouts, is so good that it can even be a standalone entree.

Stuffed Butternut Squash
from allrecipes.com

2 servings

  • 1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 6 Brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, sliced and julienned
  • 1/3 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Place squash in a baking dish with one inch of water, and cover with foil.

Bake squash in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until flesh is fork-tender. Keep warm.

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place Brussels sprouts, carrots, and garbanzo beans in a skillet over medium high heat. Stir together soy milk, tamari, turmeric, and garlic, and add to the skillet, tossing to coat.

Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender. Add a small amount of water or more soy-tamari mixture, as needed, to prevent drying out.

Combine rice with vegetable mixture, and scoop into squash.

Serve with additional tamari and season to taste.

This recipe involves some unique ingredient combinations and was surprisingly good. I had plenty of the filling leftover that, as I said above, made a great entree all by itself.

CSA Delivery #16 – September 24, 2008

September 28, 2008 By: Megabeth Category: CSA Delivery

We received more fall crops such as butternut squash, potatoes, swiss chard and golden delicious apples. Green peppers and tomatoes also were part of the delivery.

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