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Festive Quinoa Dish: Butternut Squash Cranberry Pecan

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and we couldn't have asked for a nicer weekend in Toronto. The leaves on the trees are just about to peak with
Oct 8, 2012 | Joy McCarthy

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and we couldn't have asked for a nicer weekend in Toronto. The leaves on the trees are just about to peak with their beautiful fall colours of red, orange, yellow and the air was crisp and fresh.

On Sunday, my man (Walker) and I enjoyed a long walk all over the city and then I whipped up this side dish to bring to a family Thanksgiving dinner at Walker's Aunt's home in the evening.

The dinner was fabulous (not surprisingly, his aunt is a wonderful cook and his cousin made an incredible pumpkin pie with organic pumpkin and candied ginger -- it was foodgasmic) and everyone seemed to love my festive quinoa dish -- so I'm sharing the recipe with you all!

The fresh herbs made this dish fragrant and flavourful (plus gave it a megawatt dose of minerals and chlorophyll -- a divine blood cleanser/detoxifier); the butternut squash and dried cranberries made it festive and the pecans and goat cheese made it fulfilling. Butternut squash is loaded with antioxidants, especially the eye-friendly ones: beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Since you've probably read all about quinoa on my blog many times before I won't bore you with my love for it. If you want more quinoa recipes, then I've included some below.

Festive Quinoa Dish


1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups filtered water

½ butternut squash, peeled, cubed

½ cup dried cranberries (organic and sulfite free)

¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ red onion chopped

1 cup fresh cilantro and Italian parsley, chopped

Dressing: Juice of 1 whole lemon, 2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, dash sea salt

Optional: 1 package of soft goat cheese


Quinoa: Bring water and quinoa to a soft boil, reduce heat to low and simmer with lid on for 12-15 minutes. Set aside once cooked.

Butternut squash: Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place squash into a baking dish and pour about 1/8 of an inch of water into pan to prevent the squash from sticking. Baked for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare remaining ingredients. Place quinoa and butternut squash into a large bowl and combine. Add remaining ingredients and then finally, add the dressing. Be careful mixing all the ingredients together because you want to be cautious with the butternut squash so it doesn't break apart. Top with some crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 6 as a side dish.


Oct 8, 2012 BY Joy McCarthy
Courtney K.   •   October 8, 2012

Looks yummy! Can't wait to try it for America's Thanksgiving! :)

Joy McCarthy   •   October 9, 2012

Shane Organ   •   October 12, 2012

Looks good. Did it turn out very sweet? I'm not a huge fan of "sweet" in my meals but I could make an exception for the festive season! And also since Joy's recipes never seem to let me down. Thanks for sharing! Eat well.

Joy McCarthy   •   October 12, 2012

Liz (formerly VeggieGirl)   •   October 14, 2012

Totally making this for Thanksgiving :)

Joy McCarthy   •   October 15, 2012

Anna Obi   •   November 22, 2012

Made this tonight! It was amazing and super easy to make!


6 Festive Healthy & Delicious Side Dish Recipes |   •   November 23, 2012

[...] Butternut Squash Cranberry Quinoa: This dish is a wonderful mish mash of local ingredients with a festive twist. Someone asked me if the dark bits were olives and they are in fact dried cranberries. That’s what they look like without the preservatives — sans sulfites! Joyous Health Butternut Squash Quinoa [...]


Adele   •   November 24, 2012

What temperature (hot, room temp, cold) should this dish be served at?

Joy McCarthy   •   November 24, 2012

Valerie   •   April 17, 2014

I just did this dish like an hour ago, instead of goat cheese I used firm ricotta that I had in my fridge. It is really good and simple. Loved it.


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