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Butternut Squash and Smokey Ham Quinoa
Prep Time
3 hrs 2 mins
Cook Time
3 hrs 2 mins
 
Healthy and loaded with delicious, smokey flavors, this is one delicious side dish.
Course: Side - Quinoa preparation method adapted from Eating Rules
Author: Chris Scheuer
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 medium butternut squash cut into ½ inch dice, you want a total of about 4 cups diced squash
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 cup diced good quality, smoked ham, cut in ½-inch dice*
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes ** see note
  • 3 medium cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Cover quinoa with cold water and let sit for 30 seconds, then swish with your hand for another 30 seconds. Pour quinoa into a fine strainer and allow to sit and drain for 15-20 minutes, gently shaking strainer occasionally to remove as much water as possible.
  2. Heat a medium-large pan over medium heat for several minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, until all liquid is removed and you begin to smell a nutty aroma, about two minutes. Transfer to a dry bowl.
  3. Rinse pot and bring 1½ cups of broth to a rolling boil. Add toasted quinoa and cover, leaving lid slightly vented to allow steam to escape. Reduce heat to low (maintain just a slight simmer) and cook for about 14 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit, uncovered for 30 minutes to cool while preparing rest of ingredients, then fluff with a fork.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Place the cubed butternut squash onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss the squash mixture with your hands to evenly distribute the oil and seasoning. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and gently stir. Return to oven and roast for another 10 minutes or until the squash is tender but not mushy.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet, over medium heat. When hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Add the ham and stir continuously for 1 minute. Add the diced onion, sun-dried tomato and garlic. Sauté for several minutes until onion becomes translucent. Add the sage, rosemary and thyme and cook for another 30 seconds.
  7. Remove heat to low and add the cooked quinoa and roasted butternut squash. Stir gently to combine. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Transfer to a serving plater or individual plates and garnish with the parsley. Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

Notes:
* ~ You could use prosciutto, pancetta or chicken sausage instead of the ham. It would also be quite delicious without any meat, as well.
** ~ Sun-dried tomatoes can be purchased in oil (usually in glass jars) or in bags or packets without the oil. I prefer the ones not packed in oil as they are much lower in calories and don't add a lot of extra fat. If you purchase them dried, without the oil and they seem a bit hard, just re-hydrate for a few minutes with a bit of boiling hot water, then drain and use according to your recipe.