Recipe: Quinoa and Butternut Squash Gratin

photo by Zimbio

If you’ve never cooked quinoa (KEEN-wa) before, give it a shot with this recipe. Quinoa looks a bit like couscous (the latter is actually a pasta) and quinoa tastes a bit chewier than rice when cooked. Quinoa is a whole grain, so it’s packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, making it a great way to reduce your meat intake. Per serving, quinoa gives you more protein than a 1 ounce serving of boneless, baked chicken breast and it has zero cholesterol. The cholesterol in this recipe comes from the cheese.

Nutrition info is from the original recipe, but I believe the fat grams and sodium are much less with this adaptation.


Recipe: Quinoa and Butternut Squash Gratin

Recipe Type: Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian Home Style
Author: adapted from © Stephanie Gallagher at Used with permission.
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
A savory vegetarian recipe with butternut squash and cheese adapted from © Stephanie Gallagher at Used with permission.
  • One 1-1/2 lb. butternut squash peeled and diced OR
  • one 20 oz. package peeled and diced butternut squash pieces (frozen)
  • 1 cup organic quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. shallots or onions
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters or 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 slice bread, preferably Italian
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Spray a 2-quart baking or gratin dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. If using pre-cut butternut squash, pierce the package a few times with a fork and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes until squash is soft and tender. If using a whole squash, peel and cube it into small pieces.
  4. Most quinoa sold today, even organic, has been prewashed. If your packaging does not say it’s prewashed, then wash the quinoa in a fine sieve thoroughly. Quinoa has a bitter protective coating that can linger somewhat.
  5. Transfer the warm squash and quinoa to a large (2 or 3-quart) pot.
  6. Add water and salt to pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and the quinoa blooms into tiny spirals.
  8. Remove from heat and let rest.
  9. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat in a small frying pan.
  10. Add shallots or onions and cook 3 minutes.
  11. Add garlic and cook a minute or two longer, being careful not to let garlic burn. Stir the eggs or egg substitute together with 3/4 cup of the cheese in a small bowl.
  12. Pour over quinoa and squash mixture.
  13. Add salt and pepper to taste mixing thoroughly.
  14. Transfer to prepared baking or gratin dish.
  15. Pulse bread in a food processor or blender a few times until fine bread crumbs are formed.
  16. Sprinkle remaining cheese and bread crumbs over gratin.
  17. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on top.
  18. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Calories: 224 Fat: 10g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 26 g Sodium: 394 Fiber: 3 g Protein: 10 g Cholesterol: 14 mg

153% Vitamin A, 26% Vitamin C, 20% calcium, 17% iron


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