If it seems a little too early to be talking about all my favorite squashes—and the delicious recipes that make the most of their savory-sweet flavor—know this: it’s not. With the launch of Daphne Oz’s latest book, Eat Your Heart Out, I have one more recipe to add to my can’t-wait-for-cozy-season rotation: her crispy roasted butternut squash.
When I think of the chefs and cookbooks I turn to for foolproof weeknight meals, Daphne Oz and her library of recipes comes up time and time again. With recipes that put flavor first and nutritious ingredients at the top of the list, I don’t think twice about making her chickpea “tuna” salad, Turkish eggs, and eggless Caesar salad. Eat Your Heart Out is an ode to our insatiable appetites for fresh and flavorful foods, and while I’m headed straight to the kitchen to make every last recipe, there’s one that stands out in particular: this Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa.
With just a handful of ingredients and a few techniques that take this crispy roasted butternut squash to the next level, this recipe is a weeknight showstopper. Keep reading for all the details, including Daphne’s tricks for always-delicious dishes, how to make fluffy and crave-worthy quinoa, and all the tips for perfecting your new go-to meal.
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How would you describe Your cooking philosophy?
I am an eater by nature, calling, and choice. I have always explored and savored life through delicious bites, and nothing gets me giddier than a hole-in-the-wall with the best of something (dumplings! pizza! falafel! breakfast tacos!), or a farmer’s market full of local specialities and ugly produce that tastes sublime.
Fundamentally, I want it to feel intuitive when I eat to feel good—with pleasure and wellness in every bite. Eat Your Heart Out is about sharing the all-fun, no-fuss, gluten- and refined sugar-free recipes I rely on to get back to food confidence, reset healthy habits, and feel good in my skin.
What is your hope when someone tries a recipe from one of your cookbooks?
I love watching people have fun and feel confident making my recipes at home. Seeing people customize recipes, enjoy the process, and savor the final dishes with their families is so validating. I know how good sharing that love and those taste memories feels. With the recipes in Eat Your Heart Out in particular, it’s deeply empowering to be part of a community committed to enjoying taking good care of ourselves and living life in full.
What makes this Crispy Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe your Go-To Meal?
This dish is a perfect example of how wondrously filling, layered, and flavorful a veggie main can be. I love how the currants get plumped up in vinegar and added to a brilliantly nuanced vinaigrette that gets splashed over spiced and roasted butternut squash plus a bed of herbs and quinoa.
I roast veggies most days of the week. Time in a hot oven delivers texture along with a concentration of flavor and sweetness that’s very welcome, so I always have a bounty of roasted vegetable that adds juiciness to grain bowls and salads. The quinoa drinks up the flavor of the surrounding vinaigrette so this bowl only becomes more flavorful as it sits. (Pro tip: Make a big batch and reap the benefits all week.) I sometimes add more fresh herbs just before eating to revive it. I promise you won’t be thinking about the health benefits as you sink your teeth in!
Does this recipe require any special equipment?
This recipe has some layering to it, but all very simple techniques. You’ll want a tray for roasting the squash and a sauce pan to cook the quinoa and plump the currants. Other than that, everything just gets tossed together in a big bowl to enjoy! You can also customize using whatever leftover roasted veggies and grains you have. The vinaigrette goes great with lentils and roasted red onion and peppers, or you can try brown rice and roasted broccoli.
What are your must-have kitchen tools?
In terms of some of my favorite kitchen items, people know all about my love of a giant wooden salad bowl (which you could definitely use for this!).
I am partial to hand-worn items with a bit of character or patina, which is why I love my wooden cutting boards and spoons. I leave them out on my countertops as decoration and for utility.
Using ceramic bowls for serving brings an organic, warm feel to the table. I love the bowls and plates I use from Gjusta Goods. I also always bring in a bit of brass or silver to add a touch of glamour. The brushed gold serving spoons from Fable are favorites and the gold Linea cutlery from Food 52.
Equipment-wise, I keep it simple: a great chef’s knife (Material Kitchen provides my utility players), a big cutting board, a stand mixer for more intensive projects, and a blender for great soups, purees, and smoothies. I have to give a shout-out to the air fryer that I never thought I would own and now delivers my all-time favorite salmon recipe—a crispy-skinned, juicy filet with a chile-soy glaze and honey-sesame topping.
What hero ingredients make this recipe special?
The spiced cubes of squash are golden brown and crisp outside and delightfully creamy inside. Quinoa happens to be a complete protein, so tuck that in your back pocket. But the bright, excellently acidic and slightly sweet currant vinaigrette steals the show.
Are there any ingredients swaps we should know about?
All the recipes in Eat Your Heart Out are free from gluten and refined sugar. If you can’t find butternut squash, try another squash or sweet potato. If you aren’t into quinoa, try lentils, brown rice, millet, or another gluten-free grain option of your choosing. See my alternate combo suggestions above, too.
what are your tricks for making recipes we always crave?
The most important technique here is to make sure not to overcrowd your pan when you roast squash. If there’s too much squash on the pan, you risk steaming it which means less color, flavor, and texture.
But most of all, try to keep a 50-50 balance of quinoa to squash. The quinoa will fill you up, but you want the squash and its spiced, sweet-savory flavor to shine!
Fresh herbs are key, too. Using big, torn handfuls of parsley keeps the whole game fresh and vibrant. The list continues: good olive oil, enough salt, and a hint of something surprisingly like acid or heat. If you like it spicy, try adding minced Fresno chiles to this recipe—so good!
Any Advice For Getting the Quinoa Perfectly Fluffy?
Quinoa can be a little tricky to get right. We want it perfectly tender but still al dente so it doesn’t clump together into mush. I nail this by rinsing the seeds, then toasting them until dry in a medium pot—they’ll smell fragrant and nutty. Then I add the water following the package instructions and bring to a boil uncovered, drop to a simmer, cover, and cook until the seeds are tender.
When there is no liquid left at the base of the pan, I fluff quinoa with two forks, cover the pot with a dish towel and cap with a lid, and let it sit to steam another 5-10 minutes.
Keep scrolling to get Daphne’s recipe for this Crispy Butternut Squash and Quinoa. Find more of Daphne’s recipes on TikTok and Instagram @daphneoz and catch her on The Good Dish every day (check your local listings) and every Thursday on MasterChef Jr on FOX!
For the Butternut Squash:
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Sea salt, to taste
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash (1-inch cubes)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Quinoa:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1½ cups water or broth
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, torn
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Currant Vinaigrette (Scallion, currants, date syrup, and extra virgin olive oil)
- PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees F.
- TO make the butternut squash, combine the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Place the squash on a sheet pan in an even layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the spice mixture.
Toss to evenly coat the squash. Roast for 45 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until golden brown and tender.
- MEANWHILE, make the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear, about 2 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a medium saucepan over medium heat and toast until it smells nutty, about
2 minutes. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook according to the package instructions. Once the liquid has evaporated, remove from the heat, cover the pot with a paper towel, and place the lid back on top. The paper towel absorbs any excess liquid, allowing the quinoa to steam perfectly as it rests. Let it sit and steam for 5 minutes, then fluff with two forks.
- IN a large bowl, combine the quinoa, chickpeas, parsley, and scallions with enough Currant Vinaigrette to coat and toss to combine. Arrange on a serving platter and pile with little handfuls of squash on top.
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