top of page

Pretty plates


Last week, SS needed a recipe for a Sunday evening casual dinner party. She'd spent the weekend with me gallivanting around Paris (aka essential professional research), so couldn’t make it to a butcher or fishmonger, nor would she have hours for slaving away. Not that that’s usually her vibe. Her preference was for something 'light' after a weekend of cheese feasting, and to accommodate one of her carb-fussy guests.

I suggested a variation on my store cupboard quinoa ‘risotto’ recipe - a dressier version with butternut, spinach and goats cheese. Quinoa is a useful thing - filling enough for a hungry boy, but also a winner in the low-GI, gluten free game. Try to buy fair trade brands to keep the Peruvians happy, too. This is a colourful, tangy and tasty dish which can be on the table in 30 minutes. Even DS commented that it looked pretty for the test run few days ago. High praise indeed.

I pointed her to some spiced chickpeas for a simple starter, and poached pears with chocolate sauce for a classic and instant dessert.

PRINT recipe here

Et en français

Roasted butternut, spinach and goats cheese quinoa 'risotto'

For six, takes 30 minutes

main / vegetarian / easy peasy / quietly smug / autumn / winter / date night / baby / gluten free

* Butternut or large squash - 1, seeds removed and cut into 2cm dice (skin on is fine)

* Dried oregano - 2 tsp

* Onion or leek – 2, diced

* Butter – a knob

* Garlic – 4 cloves, peeled and sliced

* Quinoa - 400g

* Cider vinegar - 2 tsp

* Lemon – zest and juice of 1

* Salt – 1 tsp

* Vegetable or chicken stock - 1 L

* Baby spinach - 300g

* Goats cheese - a log / 150g, cut into 1cm dice

* Parmesan – plenty, to serve

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Toss the butternut in olive oil, 1 tsp dried oregano, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden and tender.

Melt a wedge of butter in a large, heavy based saucepan and fry the onion or leek until soft. You can add a splash of water then cover the pan and leave things to steam for ten minutes if you prefer.

Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Then stir in the quinoa with the vinegar, lemon zest, juice, remaining oregano and salt until everything is well mixed.

Add the stock and bring to a low simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes the quinoa should be nicely al dente. If it looks too dry, add a little extra water or stock. Stir in the spinach until it is wilted and evenly distributed. Then stir in the butternut and the goats cheese.

Serve with plenty of parmesan and black pepper.


  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Black Instagram Icon

To receive email updates about new posts, sign up HERE


Here's what I've been munching through most recently. Follow me

bottom of page