Quinoa + Farro Butternut Bowl

Basically, this steamy little fall dish here is just wonderful.  It is warm and delicious and comforting.  Just what the weather report calls for.

So, I teach cycling at the gym I work at, and it’s always a really fun time – not to mention great workout for everyone, including me!  You could say I look forward to it.  (Read: I heart cycling class.)

Quinoa + Butternut Squash Bowl - Vegan + Gluten-Free Recipe - FitCakery.com

But, since the weather has just eked past the point of nice, refreshing, t-shirt-n-jeans weather and has gotten into pull-out-yer-winter-coat weather, it’s been considerably more challenging to abandon my slippers and sweatpants once I have them on.

I was wearing my slippers and sweatpants – still all cozified on the couch – 10 minutes before I had to leave for my class today.  Somehow, I made it out the door in the nick of time, wearing (mostly) the proper attire.  (Legwarmers don’t count as proper attire for spin class, but I wore them with defiance.)

Quinoa + Butternut Squash Bowl - Vegan + Gluten-Free Recipe - FitCakery.com

The fact that I have to be there to teach, the fact that it’s fun, and yes, the fact that I know cycling warms me up a lot helped me get out the door.  But the big bowl of quinoa and farro with butternut squash and kale waiting to be steamed up for dinner certainly helped make the cold seem less threatening.

On a cold day, a piping hot, delicious dinner isn’t just comfort food – it IS comfort.  Like a Snuggie that warms you from the inside out.  Or something like that.

Quinoa + Butternut Squash Bowl - Vegan + Gluten-Free Recipe - FitCakery.com

This is an easy dish with just a little prep ahead.  We even have enough to keep us going through the next few days, a fact which I feel very comforted by – I have a healthy and delicious meal on hand that I don’t even have to worry about making!

 I wanted to keep this a straightforward and simple dish with a few key flavors that would stand out without overwhelming the natural taste and texture of the grains and sweet butternut squash.  I think the butternut really gets the spotlight here.  Take a bow, butternut.

Time to get that winter comfort food going!

Quinoa + Butternut Squash Bowl - Vegan + Gluten-Free Recipe - FitCakery.com

Quinoa + Farro Butternut Bowl

vegan, gluten-free {makes about 6 servings}

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (or about 20 oz frozen + cubed)
  • 1 c. dry quinoa
  • 1 c. dry farro
  • 2 ½ c. (plus ½ c. for sautéing) vegan “chicken” broth
  • 2 T. (or 6 large cloves) minced garlic
  • ½ small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 10 oz frozen peas
  • 3 large kale leaves, deveined and chopped
  • ½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • ½ tsp. salt, or more as needed
  • 2-3 tsp. Herbs de Provence or herbed chicken seasoning
  • 2 T. to ¼ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice, adjust to taste

Directions:

To bake the butternut squash, set aside about 90 minutes, either a day or two ahead of time or just before you want to make this recipe.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Stab 3 holes in the sides of the squash with a small knife to allow steam to escape, place the squash on a baking sheet, and put it in the oven for 90 minutes. Roll over halfway through. When it is out and cooled, peel, discard the seeds, and chop into cubes. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Cook the quinoa and farro with 2 ½ c. broth and 1 T. minced garlic in a rice cooker or on the stovetop, covered with a lid. (About 20 min.) Tip: I like to spray my rice cooker or pot with cooking spray before I put the grain in so it’s less likely to stick.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium.  Add the diced onion and some of the salt and pepper and sauté until slightly browned and translucent.  Add ½ c. of stock and the garlic and frozen peas, and sauté a few minutes until almost warmed up, and then add the kale and a bit more salt and pepper.  Finally, add the cooked squash and with the kale while stirring the mixture just until it begins to wilt, usually only about 30-60 seconds.

Add the cooked farro and quinoa as well, along with the lemon juice.  Mix everything together and taste-test.  If you need to, add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or a splash of olive oil.

I served this with grilled chicken breast, but this works really well as a meal by itself or as a side dish with something else!

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition per serving: 344 calories; 4 g fat (0 g saturated); 65 g carbs; 8 g fiber; 14 g protein (Bonus: 210% DV vitamin A; 47% DV vitamin C; 10% DV calcium; 20% DV iron)

Quinoa + Butternut Squash Bowl - Vegan + Gluten-Free Recipe - FitCakery.com