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There is something so charmingly retro about this recipe, which is what drew me to it in the first place. Pressing cooked quinoa into a pie plate and then unmolding it onto a platter so the neat circles of butternut squash are attractively displayed on top seems like such a weird thing to do to quinoa. It’s something that they would’ve done in the 1960’s when American cuisine was all about Spam and pineapple upside down cakes. If my husband had been around when I stumbled across this recipe, he probably would’ve been hesitant to try it when my first reaction was “This looks so weird – I have to make it!”

But I’m not one to let a quirky 1960’s vibe dissuade me from trying out a recipe. So I made it as a side dish for dinner one night, and after we both marveled at this odd way of serving quinoa, we tried it. Holy cow, it’s good! It’s actually really tasty! I know the pie shape has nothing to do with the flavor, but it did cause some doubt. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to worry, I’ve tested it out, and this is a really yummy dish. It’s great as a side dish, but it would also work really well as a light lunch with a little side salad. It’s so healthy, all whole grains and veggies, it’s an easy way to slip some wholesome goodness into your meal.

Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash

From Martha Stewart Living, November 2006

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, havled crosswise, and seeded

18 fresh sage leaves, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage

1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup quinoa

2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock

1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Vegetable oil, cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 rimmed baking sheets with 1 teaspoon oil. Cut five 1/4-inch-thick rings of squash; cut remainder into 1/4-inch dice. Place squash on sheets. Toss with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 12 sage leaves. Bake until tender and just golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Keep oven on.
  2. Heat remaining teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. quinoa and stock; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat. Simmer until liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 2 minutes.
  3. Stir together quinoa, diced squash, chopped sage, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Coat a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Arrange 6 sage leaves face down in plate; top with squash rings. Press quinoa mixture on top.
  5. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. Serve wedges warm or at room temperature.