Quinoa with Butternut Squash Almonds and Parmesan Cheese

4.80 from 5 votes
1 hour
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Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Almonds and Parmesan Cheese rocks with flavor and makes the perfect autumn side dish or vegetarian main dish.

Photo of Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Almonds and Parmesan Cheese in wooden bowl with serving spoon on gray background with gray napkin.

Not long ago, I had a quinoa-cooking disaster while working for a personal chef client.  I’ve always found this hot and trendy little grain/seed difficult to cook and I always hold my breath when doing so.  Am I the only one?

Cook it like rice “they” say with a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio.

Now, I cook A LOT of rice for clients.  Quinoa does not cook up like rice.  The result I get is undercooked quinoa with water remaining in the pot.

How to cook quinoa:

  • Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under running tap water to remove the bitter outer coating known as saponin.
  • Start with a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio, but LEAVE THE COVER OFF.
  • After approximately 15 to 17 minutes the “germ” begins to appear and much of the water will have evaporated or been absorbed.
  • Cover and let stand off the heat for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Quinoa is cooked when the germ has been fully released and it’s fluffy and tender.
Photo of cooked quinoa in glass mixing bowl.

How to Make Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Almonds and Parmesan Cheese:

First, roast the butternut squash.  But first, you’ll need to roast the squash which leads to:

How do you peel butternut squash?

Butternut squash can seem intimidating to peel at first.  It’s not difficult once you master the technique.

  • First, select a squash with a long neck.  This means you’ll have plenty of flesh and less cutting around the seedy part.
  • Slice the neck into approximately 3-inch lengths then place cut side down on a cutting board.
  • With a good, sharp knife, slice downward toward your cutting board, rotating the squash as you remove the thick peel.  If you miss a little, just clean it up after you’re finished rotating the neck of the squash.
  • To peel the bottom of the squash (the part with seeds), slice it in half from the top down.  Place the seed side down and slice into ½ to 1-inch half moons.  Remove the rind, seeds and fibrous part with a paring knife then cube remaining flesh as desired.
Photo showing how to peel butternut squash.
Photo of roasted butternut squash on sheet pan.
  • While the squash is roasting, cook the quinoa per the above directions.
  • The other mildly tricky part of this dish is toasting the almonds.  I do it in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop.  Toss the almonds several times and take them off the heat as soon as they’re lightly toasted.  They can go from zero to burned quickly.  I like to remove them from the heat as soon as they’re fragrant.
Photo of toasted almonds in nonstick skillet.
  • Cook the onion in olive oil in a large skillet, add garlic and thyme. Add lemon juice and zest.
  • Toss in the warm quinoa, butternut squash and add the toasted almonds and Parmesan cheese.
Photo of Lemony Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash Almonds and Parmesan Cheese being sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
  • Add chopped parsley for a touch of green…
Photo of parsley being sprinkled on Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Almonds and Parmesan Cheese.
Close-up photo of Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash Almonds and Parmesan Cheese - Straight-on close-up shot in wooden bowl with serving spoon.

That’s it!  Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Almonds and Parmesan Cheese!  A healthful side dish for roast chicken, fish or pork.  Hearty enough for a vegetarian entree.  Let’s eat!

Photo of Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Almonds and Parmesan Cheese on gray surface in wood bowl.

For more quinoa recipes you’re sure to love, try my:

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Lemony Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash Almonds and Parmesan Cheese in wood bowl.

Quinoa with Butternut Squash Almonds and Parmesan Cheese

4.80 from 5 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Almonds and Parmesan Cheese rocks with flavor and makes the perfect autumn side dish or vegetarian main dish.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Vegetarian / Vegan Entrees
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 227 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium butternut squash - 1 – 1 1/2 pounds, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil - divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large lemon - zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss cubed butternut squash with 2 tablespoon olive oil and salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under running tap water to remove the bitter outer coating known as saponin.
  • Combine the quinoa and water in a large saucepan. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 15-17 minutes.
  • After approximately 15 to 17 minutes the “germ” begins to appear and much of the water will have evaporated or been absorbed.
  • Cover and let stand off the heat for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and lightly toast, 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned in places. Immediately transfer to a small plate so the nuts do not burn.
  • In the same nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often or until onions are golden and tender, approximately 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and thyme and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in lemon zest and juice.
  • Return squash and quinoa to the skillet. Add parsley and Parmesan cheese and toss well. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 206mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.80 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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16 Comments

  1. I’ve been making this for years and loved it, but recently realized the lemon that made this recipe sing had been removed from the ingredients list and title. I tried making it without lemon and it was simply not as good (and my family agreed). I have to go to archive.org to grab the original recipe since I simply can’t make it without the lemon!

    1. Hi, Liz, THANK YOU so very much!! You have no idea how you made my day! This recipe was on my list of fall recipes to retest and I just couldn’t get to it. I received two comments about the lemon juice ruining the recipe, so that made me unsure and I took it out to be on the safe side. I went to archive.org and added it back in. Again, thank you for letting me know and for taking the time to comment.

  2. Hi, Bridget, Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, butternut squash can be a bugger to peel but many stores have peeled and diced butternut squash now. Cooked quinoa is available in the freezer section so those two things should cut the time it takes dramatically. Everyone cooks at different speeds. Thanks again and hope you enjoyed!

  3. 5 stars
    This was delicious, especially after the flavors had time to blend. Had as an entree the first night, and then as a side with grilled shrimp the second night. Used fresh grated Pecorino Romano. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Hi, Joan, Thanks so very much and so glad you enjoyed! This is definitely versatile as a vegetarian main dish or as a side dish. Thanks again!

  4. I chose this recipe because I thought my (super picky) vegetarian teenager would like it. I wasn’t sure how it would go over though, so I was a little nervous. It was pretty easy to prepare, and turned out delicious! She asked if I’d make it again. That’s a winner!

    1. Hi, Sharon, Thanks so very much and yes, that’s quite the win! I cook for clients’ picky teens all the time and know it can be a nail-biter! Thanks again!

  5. Hi, Carol! We cook LOTS of quinoa. We buy it at Costco and it’s in a huge sack and it does not need to be rinsed. It’s under the Kirkland brand. If your clients like quinoa, this would be economical. Hope you can find it. Love the recipe — we have all the ingredients. When we make it I’ll tag you on Instagram.

    1. Thanks, Marisa! I can’t buy things like that in bulk, store and then use for my clients. Everything is purchased on the day I cook for them. Love knowing I don’t have to rinse the Costco brand, however. Wish more brands were like that!