This easy butternut squash recipe with lentils and quinoa makes the perfect side dish or warm fall salad to serve a crowd. It can also stand alone as a satisfying, superfood lunch! Warm Mediterranean spices and extra crunch from toasted almond take it to a new level of delicious. Vegan. Gluten Free. And, if you're into meal-prep, there are several ways to prepare this dish ahead for easy access during a busy week!
One of my favorite ways to prepare butternut squash is simply cubed and roasted. All you really need is a simple drizzle of excellent extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch or two of salt and favorite spices. This easy butternut squash recipe builds on this simple idea.
Why this easy butternut squash recipe works
In this healthy butternut squash recipe, roasted butternut squash cubes are augmented with a couple of superfoods, lentils and quinoa. By doing so, not only have we significantly amped up the nutrition factor (protein, fiber, iron, to name a few), but we've easily created a hearty and satisfying dish. (Serve me this butternut squash quinoa creation for lunch, and I'm full the rest of the day! And it's great as a side dish or a warm fall salad.)
The second reason this easy butternut squash recipe works is: flavor. Flavor. Flavor.
Tips for flavoring this butternut squash quinoa
Roasting butternut squash is almost a dead giveaway. It's the perfect method to bring out it's natural sweetness and velvety texture. Cinnamon is a great spice paired with butternut squash. But to develop a more complex flavor, extra tasty flavor profile, I like to add a few more warm spices: allspice, coriander, paprika, and a pinch of cumin.
Almost more important is flavoring the quinoa and lentils. While earthy and slightly nutty, neither lentils nor quinoa are fun to eat if not well-flavored. This is why, we carry the same warm spice mixture, used with the butternut squash earlier, to season the cooked lentils and quinoa.
When we're ready to assemble the roasted butternut squash with the cooked lentils and quinoa, we have another opportunity to add even more flavor...Roasted garlic, a heaping handful of fresh parsley,scallions, a little more extra virgin olive oil. Finish with a splash of lemon juice to wake everything up!
And my biggest tip here is to toss everything together and set aside for a few minutes before serving. This will make a difference as the flavors have a chance to soak/meld.
Prepare ahead tips for this easy butternut squash recipe
This butternut squash recipe is relatively simple to prepare, but it does take a few steps. You essentially prepare the roasted butternut squash, while boiling the lentils and quinoa each separately. There are a couple of ways to store it from here:
1. If you plan to serve this butternut squash recipe within a day or two of making it, you can roast the butternut squash, and cook and season the lentils and quinoa. You can mix everything as directed and cover and refrigerate for 2 days (maybe even 3.) You can enjoy it at room temperature.
2. If you want to prepare this to use for lunch over a longer period of time, then prepare roasted butternut squash, lentils, and quinoa as directed (up to step #8). But do not mix. Instead, store each separately in a tight lid glass container. (Both lentils and quinoa will keep well this way for up to 5 days, unseasoned. Butternut squash will keep 3 to 4 days.) When ready, combine what amount you need of the lentils and quinoa, and toss with a little of the spices listed (to your liking is fine) and season with salt. Then add butternut squash and what portion you need of the remaining ingredients. Finish with splash of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy at room temperature.
Similar Recipes to Try:
Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable BarleyPrint
Easy Butternut Squash Recipe with Lentil and Quinoa
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: serves up to 8 people
Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe, augmented with lentils and quinoa for a satisfying lunch, side dish, or warm fall salad. A combination of warm Mediterranean spices, fresh parsley, and a splash of lemon juice takes it to a new level of delicious. Vegan. Gluten Free. Review tips for prepare-ahead and storage.
- 1 whole butternut squash (select a smaller one)
- 2 tsp/4.6 g ground cinnamon, divided
- 2 tsp/3.8 g allspice, divided
- 1 tsp/2.3 g coriander, divided
- 1 tsp/ 2.1 g paprika, divided
- ¾ tsp cumin
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup/170 g dry quinoa, soaked in water for 2 minutes, then rinsed
- 1 cup/200 g dry black lentils, sorted and rinsed
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and chopped
- Large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- Fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Microwave butternut squash for 2 to 3 minutes (this will help with peeling and cutting.) Handle carefully.
- Peel and Cube Squash. Place squash on a cutting board on it's side and cut both ends. Keeping the squash on its side, hold with one hand, and with the other, peel using a sharp vegetable peeler like this one. Cut lengthwise into halves. And using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into strips, and each strip into cubes.
- Season Squash. Place cubed butternut squash on a large baking sheet. Season with salt. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon allspice, ½ teaspoon coriander, ½ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon cumin (remainder of each spice will be used later.) Drizzle generously with private reserve extra virgin olive oil and toss.
- Roast Squash. Spread the squash in one layer on the sheet pan, then place on middle rack of heated oven. At the 15 minute mark, carefully remove the sheet pan from oven add the garlic cloves and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toss squash cubes. Return to oven for another 10 minutes.
- While squash is roasting. Make the lentils and quinoa.
- Cook lentils. Place black lentils in a sauce pan and add 3 cups of water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer (with the cover somewhat tilted open ) for 20-25 minutes or so. Drain.
- Cook quinoa at the same time. Place rinsed quinoa in another saucepan. Add 2 cups of water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low. Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid has completely absorbed.
- Assemble the Butternut Squash Dish. Place cooked lentils and quinoa in a large bowl, season with the remainder of spices and a little more salt. Toss a little to combine. Add the cooked butternut squash. Chop the roasted garlic and add. Then add scallions and fresh parsley.
- Toss all the ingredients together. Add fresh lemon juice to your taste (start with 2 teaspoon and go from there.) Add a generous drizzle of Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil. Toss everything well to combine. Taste to adjust salt or add more of the same spices as you like. Top with toasted almonds.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. You can set it aside to let the flavors meld before serving. You can prepare this in advance and keep in the fridge overnight (See notes.)
- Cook's Tip: This will serve a crowd as a side or salad, 8 people or so. If you plan to have it as a main meal like lunch or a light dinner, you will likely be able to get 5 servings.
- Cook's Tips: This butternut squash recipe is relatively simple to prepare, but it does take a few steps. You essentially prepare the roasted butternut squash, while boiling the lentils and quinoa each separately. There are a couple of ways to store it from here:1. If you plan to serve this butternut squash recipe within a day or two of making it, you can roast the butternut squash, and cook and season the lentils and quinoa. You can mix everything as directed and cover and refrigerate for 2 days (maybe even 3.) You can enjoy it at room temperature.2. If you want to prepare this to use for lunch over a longer period of time, then prepare roasted butternut squash, lentils, and quinoa as directed (up to step #8). But do not mix. Instead, store each separately in a tight lid glass container. (Both lentils and quinoa will keep well this way for up to 5 days, unseasoned. Butternut squash will keep 3 to 4 days.) When ready, combine what amount you need of the lentils and quinoa, and toss with a little of the spices listed (to your liking is fine) and season with salt. Then add butternut squash and what portion you need of the remaining ingredients. Finish with splash of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy at room temperature.
- Recommended for this recipe: from our all-natural and organic spice collections allspice, coriander, paprika, and cumin. SAVE! Try our Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle or Create your own 6-pack from our spice collections.
- Recommended for this recipe: Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives.) SAVE! Try our Greek EVOO Bundle
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: easy butternut squash recipe, butternut quinoa, healthy butternut squash recipe
*This post has been republished with updated information.
Made this recipe today to take for Thanksgiving dinner and loved the flavors, so delicious! One question and suggestion for you. It would be very helpful to know how much squash to use in the recipe. 3lb? 4 cups diced? It seemed that the proportion of squash to grain was not as pictured - I needed more squash! That said I would definitely make again!
This I absolutely divine. Made it for company and she asked for the recipe.
Awesome! Thanks, Laura!
Made this tonight. Delish! Spouse loved it. He follows Weightwatchers and this was a low point meal and so filling and healthy. Will make again.
Awesome! Thanks, Carol!
Made this and loved it, but with only two of us we had a lot left over. Is it possible to freeze? Has anyone tried that?
I feel like it would freeze fine, but I've never tried it myself.
What would the serving size be on each item per person?
Hi, Jimmie! The whole recipe can be divided by 8 to get the "serving size". The nutrition info here is our best effort and we use a program that calculates that for us based on the ingredients. The exact serving size measurement is another layer that's harder for us to precisely calculate at this time.
I tried this recipe and it’s fantastic! I substituted Nutmeg for Cinnamon as I do in most things as personal preference. I didn’t have parsley on hand and substituted chopped kale. I used red quinoa and green lentils. As I was serving this dish for dinner: I baked Cod Filets with Lime Zest, Butter, Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Absolutely delicious. Thank you for the recipe. We enjoyed it immensely.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your adaptations!