Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vegan Holiday Quinoa Recipe

As I mentioned over a week ago, I always like to contribute a healthy side dish to the crazy three-house-marathon that is Thanksgiving for me.  After looking through a bunch of amazing Thanksgiving recipes, I came up with this delicious and fairly nutritious vegan holiday quinoa dish. And, only a week later, I managed to take pictures and write down the recipe to share with you. So, while this recipe is too late to add to your Thanksgiving menu, feel free to make it a part of your Christmas feast or any other special holiday meal you have coming up. That way this post won't seem late, and might even be considered early!   

Holiday Quinoa

Calories: 194 | Fat: 5 g | Cholest: 0 mg | Sodium: 463 mg | Carbs: 33 g | Fiber: 7 g | Sugars: 6 g | Protein: 6 g
1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
1/2 small yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 cup fresh cranberries 
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple juice
1/4 cup pepitas (the light green pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat 1 tsp of the olive oil in a sauce pot large enough to hold your quinoa and broth. Chop your onion and garlic cloves, then cook them in the oil until the onion starts to become translucent.
Rinse your quinoa and add it to the pot. Cook a couple minutes until dry, stirring occasionally.
Add broth, bring to a boil, and then simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy (about 20 minutes).

While quinoa is cooking, sprinkle butternut squash with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the squash is starts to soften and get a little crispy.

While squash and quinoa cook, chop the cranberries and mix with the honey and apple juice. This would probably be a lot easier in a food processor, but doing it by hand is ok if you don't have one or are too lazy to clean yours like me.

After the quinoa and squash are done cooking and the cranberries are prepped, mix them together along with the pepitas in a large mixing bowl and serve.
Makes 8 generous servings.

This recipe is a delicious balance of nutty quinoa, sweet butternut squash, tart cranberries and crunchy pepitas. It's vegan and gluten free, great for your guests with dietary restrictions. The flavors and bright colors make it perfect for a fall or winter holiday meal, and it is fairly easy to make and can be prepped the night before. In fact, it's probably even better that way since it gives the cranberries have a chance to absorb all the honey and apple juice, especially if you don't use a food processor. This also makes A LOT of quinoa, so expect leftovers if you are eating this as part of a large meal. Which, since this dish is so tasty, is a good thing :)


  1. Butternut Squash!!!! <3 Seriously obsessed with that fruit! I cannot get enough, and I am sure it adds such a great smooth texture to the funky quinoa texture!

  2. Yay another butternut squash lover! I love it too, but am too lazy to deal with chopping it up and the pre chopped is expensive so we don't have it as often as I would like. You're right it does go really well with the quinoa for a special occasion side though :)

  3. I am going to be all over this recipe like a cheap suit...

    Not only do I love how healthy quinoa is, I genuinely love its taste and texture.

    I've bookmarked your blog, and can't wait to explore it a bit! Although I ran track competitively from the age of 10, I stopped short of running at the University of Michigan where I graduated. Still, I dabble in running here and there, as it is a tremendous stress relief for me -- and nothing rivals a runner's high!!

    My husband, on the other hand, did play NCAA sports, as he played football at Purdue before getting drafted into the NFL, where he played for nearly seven years.

    Power to the athletes! lol

    Stopping by from SITS.

    1. Oh wow that's awesome that both you and your husband are athletes! Hope you like the quinoa recipe and thanks so much for stopping by :)

  4. This looks delicious...and nutritious! I have friends who have to eat gluten free.. I will pass it along! :-)

    1. Thanks Meeghan! Quinoa is awesome for gluten free people, although I eat grains and I love quinoa too :)

  5. I've been meaning to look for some more quinoa recipes, and this one sounds great! This is actually the second time this week I've seen a recipe that called for pepitas. I'd never heard of them until this week, and now I've seen two recipes with them. I definitely want to try them, and I think this recipe would be a great way!

    1. Thanks! Pepitas are great, but you could really use any nut or seed. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

  6. I am collecting all kinds of quinoa recipes and these one is a real feast to the eyes! Will try it tonight :)

    1. Thanks so much! Let me know how it turns out :)

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