This was the year I fell in love with squash.
From the first day of this blog I’ve been a squash liker, but for some weirdos (ahem) it takes moving to the Philippines to become a full on squash l-o-v-e-r.
If we’re being honest, I’m actually more of a second photo creamy squash sauce lover, but it’s all the same anyways. Squash. Vegetable. Healthy.
Since we’ve moved to the Philippines I’ve posted more about squash than any other vegetable, hands down, unless you count lentils as a vegetable.
We’ve had squash soup, squash pasta with turkey and spinach, walnut-squash macaroni and cheese, squash lentil curry, 30 minute squash coconut curry, thai basil coconut lentils (with squash), and so on and so on and so on.
Colorful, versatile, healthy, widely available in the Philippines, and delicately, sweetly flavored? Yeah, this is the year for squash.
But this right here is not really my thing: QUINOA.
I know it. That’s pretty much an F in Food Blogging.
Everyone loves it and I really want to love it, but then somehow I’m sitting in the other corner, still trying to make it, um, taste good.
Something strange happened in our hot little apartment last week. Bjork asked me to make quinoa for dinner. Sooo basically he was abducted by aliens? It was weird. I gave him an extended silent stare and then asked in my most loving but a little bit condescending food voice: do you even know what quinoa is?
When he confirmed that it was “those little crunchy things”, I knew that I needed to try a little harder to make quinoa work. I mean, I’m a food blogger whose semi-job is trying interesting foods and my hamburger and fries loving husband is asking me for quinoa, for crying out loud.
You all gave me lots of courage with your beautiful and delicious ideas on Facebook (thank you a million times over!), and I tried a bunch of different quinoa ingredient combos, and surprise of the world: I liked the curry the best. The curry with the squash.
Per your advice, I spent a good amount of time rinsing the quinoa and also cooked it in vegetable broth which helps it, like, actually taste better. It was nutty, a little crunchy, and just begging for a squash sauce to swim in. The squash sauce has just the right amount of sweetness, and the tiny bit of yellow curry paste is just a subtle kick that you almost don’t even notice until you’re 100 bites in.
And I know this is weird, but I love this the most with cheese. Just a little bit of really good quality cheese. In my mind, curry shouldn’t have cheese. So yes, I’m breaking food rules here. But this isn’t really CURRY curry, it’s more like creamy quinoa that happens to have a little bit of curry flavor. So please find some really good quality cheese and toss it in there. You don’t need a lot – mine was Gouda and Maasdam (a random preshredded “pasta blend” I found at the grocery store), and the flavor and creamy texture in this was SO good.
And by the way, you’re gonna get melted cheese strings and you’re gonna be happy about it.
One more time, a little closer. Because that’s what I do.
ONE LAST THING. For all my blended stuff, I always have the best results with my Blendtec Designer Series Blender. I didn’t own it when I made this recipe, but I now use it for everything! f you’re in the market for a new grown up blender, this has your name all over it.
- 1½ cups dry quinoa, rinsed
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 medium butternut or Kabocha squash (7-8 cups chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion
- 2 teaspoons yellow curry paste (can also use red curry paste)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup good quality cheese to taste (I used Gouda and Maasdam)
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions, using broth instead of water.
- Bring the remaining broth to a boil in a large pot. Peel and roughly chop the squash, garlic, and onion. Add to the pot of boiling broth, adding more water as needed to cover the squash. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until squash is fork-tender. Set aside a few cups of squash if you want to have pieces of squash in with the quinoa.
- Transfer squash, garlic, and onion pieces to a blender, reserving the broth in the pot. Puree the squash until smooth and add broth to the blender as necessary. It should be the consistency of a thick soup. Add the curry paste, coconut milk, and salt. Puree again until incorporated.
- Pour the sauce over the quinoa and stir in the squash pieces and the cheese. Season with additional salt, pepper, or herbs.
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