Thursday, December 1, 2011

Butternut Quinoa Bulgur Toss

I had a squash from my mom’s garden, and some grains from the bulk aisle needing to be used in something. The result was gorgeous! What a beautiful and hearty dish for fall or winter.

Butternut Quinoa Bulgur Toss
To be honest, this is a busier recipe than others I've posted thus far - but it's worth it. I had a roasting pan, a sauce pot, and a skillet all engaged (in addition to my cutting board and knives), so you may want read through the recipe first and understand the timing. 

A note on the grains: you could just use one type of grain (double the amount) but it really added a lot of texture to use the two different types of grains. In fact, you could use any type of grain in this recipe, really. If you've got some leftover rice, feel free to toss it in, at the end, or substitute it for some or all of the quinoa or bulgur.

  • Olive oil (sorry, I didn’t measure an amount before I started)
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cubed (1/2 to 3/4” cubes). Note: if the squash is very fresh, you can leave the skin on. Mine had been sitting on my counter for several weeks, so I peeled it first by cutting it into rounds with a heavy knife, and then using a paring knife to cut the rind off the rounds. Cinchy.
  • Optional: 2 tsp veggie bouillon or 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1/3 c (dry) quinoa; OR 2/3 c cooked
  • 1/3 c (dry) bulgur wheat; OR 2/3 c cooked
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries, golden raisins, or other dried fruit of your choice
  • 1/2 small onion (yellow, white, or red), chopped
  • 4 oz (1/2 small carton) fresh mushrooms (white or baby portabella), chopped
  • 1/4 c walnut pieces
  • 1 TBS fresh chopped sage
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Prep the vegetables while preheating the oven to 450 F.

If using dry grains: rinse the quinoa in a sieve under running water to remove the bitter saponin. Heat 1 1/2 c water in a small pan to a boil (add optional bouillon or soy sauce). Add the quinoa and return to boiling, reduce the heat to simmer, and put a lid on it. Set a kitchen timer for 7 minutes. If using pre-cooked grains, skip this part, but put the dried fruits in a small bowl and cover with a bit of of boiling water to allow them to soften; set aside.

Toss the squash cubes with olive oil, spread in a heavy roasting pan, and put it in the oven. The time will depend on how old the squash is; younger ones will need less time.

When the timer for the quinoa goes off, add the bulgur and give it a good stir. Bring it to a boil; and then reduce it to a simmer again and put the lid back on it. Set the timer for 10 minutes.

Check the squash. When the cubes are somewhere between soft and firm, remove the pan from the oven and set aside (as the squash will continue to cook for a few minutes after removing the pan from the oven).

When the timer goes off for the grains again, check them and give a good fluff. If they’re not completely done, that’s OK. Remove from heat, add the dried fruit, put the lid back on it, and set aside.

In a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, sauté the onions and mushrooms for two minutes; add the walnuts. Continue to sauté, stirring so the walnuts don’t burn. When the onions are translucent, fluff the grains/fruit; if there is any liquid that hasn't been absorbed, just drain it off carefully. Add everything into the large skillet. Give it all a good toss together; add a bit more olive oil if you’d like, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

Serving suggestion: I made some tiny Gimme Lean! sausage style "meatballs" and browned them off in a nonstick skillet. No extra ingredients needed, perfect complement!