Often when I come across a recipe that intrigues me I have a pretty good idea of what it will taste like. Sometimes I am disappointed (the chocolate compost cookies that I tried this week were hugely disappointing - I love the original compost cookies and so had high hopes but .... blehhhh! They seriously tasted like the cookies that I used to find in my grandma's cookie jar along with various other odds and ends - compost for sure) and other times I am euphorically surprised. This meal in a dish is for sure in the latter category. I thought it would be really good but it is so much more than that. I try to keep the bar* high on the blog here regarding what I share. I have to be pretty excited about whatever I share because I know that everybody has so many options and only so much time. This I am super excited about - healthy, easy, and fantastically delicious. I was filled with evangelical zeal when I made it; something this great needs to be shared. Good food isn't really all that hard to find but sometimes it takes quite a bit of effort. Or a long list of ingredients. Or time. Or a toll on one's health. To find an option that hits the trifecta of simple, healthy, and incredibly good is uncommon; adding kid-friendly makes it rare as hen's teeth.
The recipe is from a cookbook that is my newest enthusiasm - Whole Grains for A New Generation by Liana Krissoff. (Although it is currently slightly out of vogue to be excited about eating whole grains - or any grains at all - I am a fan and think they can have a place in most diets.) I used a pretty little Carnival squash instead of the more common butternut that was called for and didn't peel it because (this is old I know) I don't believe in peeling much of anything with the exception of beets. Aside from adding a tiny bit of fennel seed, those are the only very minor tweaks I made to the recipe.
Make this. Soon.
roasted squash with quinoa and sausage
(from Whole Grains for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff)
1 small Carnival or butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 small onion
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
225 gm mild Italian sausage
1 tsp dried sage leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Scrape the seeds out of the squash and cut it into 1-inch chunks. Chop the onion into large chunks. Put the onion, peeled shallot, and squash chunks into a 9x11 inch baking dish and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss to coat. Roast until tender - about 30-40 minutes. Give the vegetables a stir about half way through.
Meanwhile remove the sausage from the casings and brown in a 2-quart saucepan with the remaining olive oil. Add the sage and fennel seed, 1/2 tsp of sea salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Stir and scrape up any brown bits. Add the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn off the heat but leave covered and on the burner for another 5 minutes. Remove lid, fluff and add the mixture to the roasted tender vegetables. Gently fold to combine.
*my bar you understand - everyone has a unique idea of what is yummy. One of my dear ones is probably busy pitying David every time he eats with us; his idea of good food is quite different from mine.