Today I show you how to make quinoa pilaf with butternut squash, caramelized onion and goat cheese. Fall is my favorite season, and I am embracing all of the flavors right now!
I would like to thank Costco for the giant bag of quinoa that has been staring at me in the face every time I open the pantry. It has just been begging me to make some quinoa magic! How many of you probably have that same bag in your pantry?
Time to pull it out and make this tasty quinoa pilaf!
Fair warning – I would not categorize this in the “quick” category. I would file it under the “worth it” category. 🙂
One major shortcut you could take it to buy the butternut squash already washed, peeled, de-seeded and chopped for your convenience. In fact, I would probably recommend that.
But! If you buy a whole squash like I did, just sharpen up your knives, crank up some sweet tunes and tell your spouse to watch the kids. He or she will thank you shortly.
I use my Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan to toast up the quinoa, caramelize the onions AND cook the quinoa.
A good set of mixing bowls also comes in handy for tossing up the squash or holding the toasted quinoa.
Quinoa Pilaf Recipe
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 cups of cubed butternut squash
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper, to taste
- pinch of sugar (1/4 teaspoon or less)
- 1.5 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (optional)
- 1 ounce goat cheese (I use belle chevre)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel, de-seed and chop the squash into small, bite-sized cubes (or high five yourself if you bought it already processed).
- Toss the squash in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake on a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicon liner for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Take the uncooked quinoa and toast it a saute pan (no oil or butter!) over medium low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring/ shaking the pan frequently. You will hear a little popping, and you will smell the toasty quinoa when it is about ready. Careful not to burn it!
- Pour the toasted quinoa in a heat safe bowl and set aside.
- Add half a tablespoon of butter, and half a tablespoon of olive oil to the (same, now empty) pan and heat on low.
- Add the chopped onion, sugar and a little salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir the onions frequently. Tip: If needed, use some extra stock (like 2-3 tablespoons - I do not measure) to de-glaze the pan a couple of times, and scrape up the brown bits. It will evaporate pretty quickly.
- Cook the onions slow and low until fully caramelized, about 20 minutes. The secret to good caramelized onions is patience.
- When the onions are caramelized, add the 1.5 cups of stock, and increase the heat to bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, stir in the quinoa and 1 tablespoon of the thyme.
- Reduce heat to low to a slow simmer, and simmer for about 15 minutes covered, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the lid, and gently fold in the roasted squash. Recover the pot.
- Turn off the heat (with the lid still on) and remove the pot from the heat, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to serving dish, and top with goat cheese crumbles and remaining fresh thyme.
- Serve immediately.
Did you make this recipe? I would love to hear your feedback!
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