Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 2-pound butternut squash, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 3/4 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Put the quinoa in a bowl and cover it with cool water. Rub it between your hands and pour off most of the water. Add fresh water and repeat two or three times, until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly in a fine-meshed strainer. Set the strainer over a bowl until you are ready to cook the quinoa.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large (4 to 5-quart) pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften. Stir in the chili powder and the squash and cook, stirring every so often, for 3 more minutes. Add the drained quinoa, water or stock and salt. Bring the liquid to a boil, adjust the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, set a small plate next to the stove. Pour a few drops (about 1/2 teaspoon) of olive oil into a small skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the pumpkin seeds. Stir and shake the pan until the pumpkin seeds turn from green to olive to slightly golden brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and immediately scrape them onto the awaiting plate.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and add the spinach and cranberries. Cover the pot and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Mix and fluff up the grains with a fork. Serve sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.