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I’ll admit it – I’ve always been a bit intimidated by large gourds – calabazas, pumpkins, butternuts.  I think it’s mostly because of the squash’s size, though reasons extend to its tough outer peel,  tangled innards and mess of seeds.  And, though I do immensely enjoy a smooth and creamy calabaza or butternut soup, after a long day, sometimes I’m simply too lazy for that extra step of plugging in the immersion blender.  Heck, sometimes even too lazy to turn on the stove.

Today's afternoon market... big calabazas!

But alas, with a just sharpened knife and new veggie peeler, my fears have been replaced by a newfound  adoration – the oven roasted squash.  I could imagine roasted calabaza being delicious just on its own, however, I decided to combine the squash with some hearty quinoa to add a bit of heft to the meal.  The use of both white and red onions was a vain attempt to bring in some color, but after a long roast, it was mostly the color brown.  Finally, the addition of warm spices – like cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg – made the cold wintery evening simply melt away.

So simple!

Curried Quinoa with Roasted Calabaza and Raisins

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • ~0.5 kg or 1 lb of calabaza (butternut or pumpkin also works) squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 white onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup (measured uncooked) quinoa
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 heaping tablespoon curry madras
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3-4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 200 deg C (~390 deg F).  Line a large baking tray with foil.  Toss cubed calabaza and sliced onions with spices (curry, cinammon, nutmeg), a few pinches of salt/pepper, and oil; spread onto the baking tray in an even single layer.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until calabaza just begins to brown.  While the squash is roasting, cook quinoa as directed.  Additionally, to plump the raisins, place raisins into a small bowl and cover with hot water.

Once everything has finished cooking, in a large serving bowl, combine together the squash, onions, and quinoa.  Add the lemon zest.  Also drain and add raisins.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Breathe in and serve warm….