Judging by the weather forecast for the upcoming week summer isn’t done just yet, but I’m already longing for fall because it’s my absolute favorite season! And since my Pinterest feed is bursting with all things pumpkin, it seems I’m not alone! Fall in upstate New York is truly a beautiful site to see and everything that goes along with it is the best. The weather (cool enough for sweatshirts/sweaters), apple picking, apple cider, pumpkin everything and best of all, delicious and fragrant food dishes incorporating the foods of the season (I’m looking at you, squash!). So I’m kicking off the fall stuff with this Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa.
Roasted butternut squash is at the top of my list of favorite fall foods. Last year at this time, my roasted butternut squash sauce was being used in practically everything. This year, though, I have to be a bit more creative seeing as how the sauce was nowhere near IBS/GERD friendly (heavy cream and olive oil and black pepper, oh my!).
It’s completely possible, though, to make delicious creations that capture similar flavors without all of the problem ingredients. It’s just a tad bit frustrating trying to figure out how to do it (and of course all the trial and error!). So for now, I’m not quite up to the challenge of creating a Low FODMAP, IBS and GERD friendly roasted butternut squash sauce, but incorporating some roasted butternut squash into a dish was easy enough. The only issue with the squash is that it’s a restricted food on the Low FODMAP diet, and it’s pretty seriously restricted. The best way I find to get around those kinds of foods is to make sure that when it goes into the dish, it’s chopped up as small as possible so that it’s distributed more throughout the dish so that more bites get the ingredient in it and it doesn’t look like there are only a few sad lonely pieces floating around in there.
With that in mind, I give you the blog’s first Low FODMAP, IBS/GERD/Acid Reflux/Heartburn Friendly, Gluten Free, Lactose Free and Fructose Free fall dish! It is beyond delicious. The toasted pine nuts/sage/chive mixture really bursts through with flavor and the savory roasted butternut squash. Omg. Just, omg. I made this a few times before getting it to my liking. At first it did not have pine nuts, and in turn was a bit lower fat (those little buddies are loaded with fat, but also loaded with flavor!). It doesn’t really take many pine nuts to get the flavor in there, though, so while keeping the dish still relatively low in fat I was able to include them and the addition of their flavor was well worth it! Roasting the squash with the rosemary was great too, giving it a bit of extra savory flavor to tie everything together. Regardless of the temperature outside, this dish made me feel like fall was in full swing and I’m already planning on using it on the Thanksgiving table this year.
This will hopefully be the first of many such recipes to come because seriously, fall and its foods are the best!
Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa w/Spinach & Toasted Pine Nuts
- 1 cup quinoa (uncooked - rinsed thoroughly. If it's not rinsed well enough, it will taste bitter)
- 1+3/4 cups water *Note: do not use vegetable broth, as it does not pair well with the other flavors and makes the quinoa taste bitter.*
- 150 g butternut squash (uncooked, peeled, de-seeded and cut into VERY small pieces - see recipe notes below) - for how to peel & cut a whole butternut squash, see our tutorial with photo guide here).
- 2 tsp. pure maple syrup (divided) - It must be pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar (unpacked, divided)
- 1 tsp. olive oil (divided)
- 1/8 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. salt (divided)
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary (sprigs only, finely chopped) - divided
- 1 cup (1+1/2 oz) baby spinach leaves (fresh)
- 2 tsp. fresh sage leaves (finely chopped)
- 30 g pine nuts (untoasted, you will be toasting them yourself)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the butternut squash cubes, rosemary, 1/8 tsp. of the salt, 1/2 tsp. of the olive oil, 1 tsp. of the maple syrup and 1 Tbsp. of the brown sugar in a small bowl and mix until everything is combined and covered with oil/maple syrup, then spread the mixture out evenly in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven with the rack at the top for 8 minutes, then stir/flip the squash pieces over and continue cooking for ~10 minutes more, until tender (a fork goes through the chunks with no effort). While it's baking, you can make the quinoa.
- Place the rinsed quinoa in a large-bottomed saucepan (I use my dutch oven) over medium to medium-high heat and sautee, stirring frequently, for ~5 minutes until toasted (be careful not to burn it).
Note: The package says to toast with olive oil, however I've noticed doing this leaves a bitter taste at the end, and according to the internet this is true and quinoa should be toasted on its own, without any oil. So I recommend not using oil for the toasting process.
- Stir in the water, the remaining salt (1/4 tsp.) and the remaining brown sugar (1 Tbsp.) and heat until boiling.
- As soon as the mixture starts boiling, cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for ~15 minutes, until you see a visible small white spiral in each grain (this is the germ, which is visible once it has spiraled out), water has fully evaporated and quinoa is tender but not overcooked (when overcooked, quinoa is mushy).
- When the quinoa is done, remove from the heat. Use a fork to fluff up the quinoa, then set aside.
- Heat the remaining 1/2 tsp. of olive oil with the remaining 1 tsp. maple syrup in a small skillet over medium heat. When heated, add the sage and pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently (almost constantly) for ~2-3 minutes, until the pine nuts have browned slightly. Then, add in the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach has wilted (should only take a minute).
Note: It's important to stir very frequently throughout this entire step to prevent the nuts and sage from burning.
- Place the sage/spinach/pine nut mixture and the roasted butternut squash (both should be done now) into the saucepan with the quinoa/spinach mixture and mix everything together. Taste test and add additional salt if needed/desired.
- Serve as a side dish or eat as a snack or mini-meal by itself. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- This dish is a bit fatty, so make sure to adhere strictly to the ingredient quantities above and serving size below. When taking a serving, don't go too heavy on the squash and/or pine nuts as the squash is a restricted FODMAP food and the pine nuts are very high in fat. Also, it would be best to pair this dish with a fat free or very low fat entree (My Savory Baked Chicken or Tarragon Cream-Coated Chicken that is cooked without the oil - see the notes section of that recipe for instructions on how to avoid using the oil - would be good choices). When eaten in the proper serving size, this recipe should cause no symptoms for anyone with IBS and those with GERD in the maintenance phase (it might cause problems if you are in the elimination diet phase for GERD, due to the fat).
*The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.*
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