It's time for another vegetarian lunch dish with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies! Similar to our last lunch (post here) we went with quinoa and roasted butternut squash, but changed up the rest of the flavors. This time we added in broccolini, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and a delicious avocado cream.
We started out by cooking the quinoa and roasting the squash, which should take about the same time. We followed the directions and added the broccolini into the partially cooked quinoa to blanch, but it wasn't really cooking, so we put the lid on to steam it which turned it brown. Next time, I think I would blanch the broccolini in a separate pot from the quinoa.
We tossed together the quinoa, broccolini, and squash with quartered cherry tomatoes (not strictly in season, but these tend to be pretty sweet year round), toasted pine nuts, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice.
Then we served it up with some fresh herbs (parsley for me, cilantro for Melissa) and a delicious vegan avocado "mayo" for a lunch that was hearty, fresh, tangy, creamy, and nutty. This really hits all the flavor points and is so satisfying and healthy.
We both agreed that this dish would actually be perfect right around September, as tomatoes and avocados are on their way out and butternut squash is on it's way in. I will definitely be making it again at the end of summer/beginning of fall.
Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Broccolini
adapted from Deliciously Ella
1 small butternut squash (or about 2 cups cubed)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cups water, plus extra as needed
1 cup raw quinoa
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, divided
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 bunch broccolini, cut into pieces (about 3 cups)
2 ripe avocados
1 cup (about 1/2 pint) grape tomatoes, quartered
salt and black pepper
chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Preheat oven to 375°.
Peel, de-seed, and cube the squash. Spread on a foil-covered baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, and season lightly with salt. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add in the quinoa and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is tender and the tails pop out.
In a separate pot, blanch the broccolini in boiling water for 5 minutes, until bright green and tender. Remove to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and protect the color.
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry saucepan over medium heat for 5–10 minutes, or until they are golden and fragrant. Immediately remove from the pan to prevent them from burning.
Make the avocado cream: add the avocado flesh, 1 tbsp water, and the remaining 3 tbsp cider vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil to a small food processor bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is completely smooth, then transfer to a small serving bowl.
Once the quinoa and squash are done, mix together in a large bowl along with the broccolini, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, and juice of 1 lime. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the quinoa with the avocado cream, chopped herbs, and extra lime wedges.