Butternut squash quinoa casserole is full of vegetables and makes a delicious vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan friendly casserole for the whole family.
This casserole could have been a food fail.
Sometimes I don’t have a plan whatsoever for what I’m going to cook. I use it as an opportunity to use up veggies and random items in my pantry, and live up to my “trial and eater” name.
What I definitely needed to use up was a huge carton of pre-cut butternut squash. Beyond that, I knew I’d have to get creative.
Somehow in my head I thought it would be a good idea to use butternut squash in place of pasta and drench it in spaghetti sauce. If that wasn’t weird enough, the only sauce I had in my pantry was vodka sauce. Which is pretty thick and creamy.
You’d think after that I’d definitely have changed my mind about this weird experiment. But you’d be wrong.
Continuing with the butternut squash + vodka sauce idea, I started to cook some quinoa. Because yeah, that would go with vodka sauce (??).
I blame low blood sugar for my poor decision making skills.
Anyway, quinoa cooking and casserole dish prepped, I try to open the vodka sauce. I’m telling you, I tried. I banged the top against the counter. I used those grippy things. Ran the lid under hot water. It would.not.open. I think that was the universe telling me to give.it.up.
For all I know, butternut squash and vodka sauce is amazing. But I’ll never know.
What I DO know is that this quinoa casserole tasted much better than I imagine my original idea would.
I tried to save a step and see if the butternut squash would cook in the casserole with the quinoa, and I could not get that to work. If anybody has tips for me on how to do that, please let me know. Maybe I needed more liquid in the dish for that to work?
Either way, I recommend pre-roasting the butternut squash and then tossing the quinoa and vegetables together to bake. You can do that on the stove-top like this recipe, or oven-roast like this. Either way should take you about 15 minutes.
I went for more of a mexican-food vibe with black beans and corn, and tossed an avocado and tomato in there too. Some people don’t like to add avocado before baking, so you can add slices after if you’d like.
To keep it vegan, you can leave off the cheese or use a non-dairy cheese. But these pictures used real cheese.
You can smother it in hot sauce.
Or top with salsa or enchilada sauce.
But probably not vodka sauce.
Want more butternut squash recipes? Try this squash & veggie bake dinner or this butternut squash macaroni!
Butternut Squash Quinoa Casserole
Butternut squash and other vegetables mixed together with quinoa makes a delicious vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan friendly casserole for the whole family.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa + 2 cups water (3 cups cooked)
- 2 cups corn
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans (a little more than a cup), drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin (see notes)
- 1 lime, juiced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tomato (chopped)
- 1 avocado (diced)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (non-dairy cheese if vegan)
- Salsa or hot sauce (optional, for serving)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Roast the butternut squash with olive oil either in the oven (400°F for 15 minutes, further instructions can be found here) or on the stovetop (medium-high heat until soft, about 10-12 minutes like in this recipe).
- Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package instructions (Add the quinoa + water in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until water is mostly absorbed, about 15 minutes).
- In a large casserole dish (at least 9x13), add the cooked squash and quinoa, corn and black beans. Sprinkle in cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper and mix together.
- Add tomato and avocado (you may prefer to wait until after baking to add the avocado). Top with cheese.
- Bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
If you desire extra crunch with this casserole, add 1/2 - 1 cup bread crumbs or panko (gluten-free if necessary) before adding the cheese.
*Cumin can be a stronger, earthy spice. If you don't frequently cook with this spice or think 1 tablespoon might end up being too bold for your tastes, start by mixing in 1 teaspoon and taste the quinoa mixture before baking. You can then work your way up to 1 tablespoon if you find necessary.
**If you find the cumin flavor is overpowering after baking, it can be helpful to add something sweet to "counteract" it a little bit. I would suggest a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 406Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 299mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 11gSugar: 6gProtein: 15g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically by an online tool at Nutritionix. It is not always accurate. Please use your own tools to check if you rely on this information.
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Thursday 12th of January 2023
This recipe made me so happy. I'm from the midwest where we're big on hot dish and this pinged all the right buttons for me while meeting all my dietary requirements and being super delicious. Thank you for this recipe!
Thursday 13th of January 2022
I made this dish and it just tasted very bland to me. It needs something to bring it all together.
Friday 22nd of October 2021
Honestly I was super skeptical about this recipe but I kept getting recommended it. I gave in and made it for my lunches at work for the week. Yall it was soo good even my s/o was in love with it and insisted I make it again. Now I did tweak the recipe quite a bit because I prefer alot of seasoning and flavor in my food. I added more cumin than the recipe called for, added it on the squash before baking too. I added chili powder garlic paprika onions to mine. I also made a potato carrot onion based cheese sauce and mixed it in with the casserole.
Wednesday 29th of September 2021
I've been putting this recipe off for a couple years, honestly, because it sounded gross AF. Today though, I had some butternut squash from the CSA I didn't know what to do with and decided - what the heck, I'll try it. I'm glad I did. This is surprisingly good. I mostly followed the recipe. The only change I made was stirring the cheese into the casserole instead of just topping it but that's because I was using vegan cheese and that sh*t don't melt. This was tasty, filling, and relatively simple. I'm pretty sure I'll make it again in the future. The recipe as-is and topped with some hot sauce is pretty perfect.
Thursday 10th of June 2021
Thank you for the recipe, it was delicious. Instead of vegan cheese, I added homemade vegan cheese sauce, made with sweet potatoes, potatoes, onion, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika and lemon. Made it delicious and little more moist, which we loved. Also topped it with chopped cilantro and squeezed juice of half a lime on top.