Butternut Squash with Leeks & Baby Spinach | Food Confidence


Butternut Squash with Leeks & Baby Spinach

As an integrative dietitian and empowerment coach with 20+ years of experience, my main goal is to help women age well, feel confident in their bodies, and create the healthy lifestyle they desire and deserve.
danielle omar

This recipe is the love child of this dish and the contents of my refrigerator. It came out quite tasty, if not delicious.  Next time I would probably use lentils instead of quinoa just to make it more hearty…and because I’m a little obsessed with lentils.

In case you didn’t know, butternut squash is not just a carby winter squash. The starch it contains actually has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and insulin-regulating properties. It’s also loaded with vitamin A!  One cup of cooked squash has 457% of your recommended daily intake. Couple the squash with spinach and I don’t think I have to tell you that this is a healthy dish.  Perfect as a side to your meal or as a tasty lunch…perhaps with a bowl of soup?  In the spirit of doling out kitchen confidence, here are a few ways you could also change it up:

  • instead of quinoa, use lentils, farro, or wheatberries. Okay, yes, even rice
  • instead of pine nuts, use walnuts, sliced almonds or chopped hazelnuts
  • instead of leeks, use onion, shallots, or scallions
  • instead of spinach, use kale, dandelion greens, or mustard greens
  • instead of butternut, use acorn, delicata squash, or sweet potato

Or, you can just make it how I did:

Butternut Squash with Leeks and Baby Spinach


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium leek cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 5 leaves sage chopped


  • Toss the squash in olive oil and salt and pepper, roast at 425 for about 20 minutes. Heat about one tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked squash and cooked quinoa to the pan. Then add baby spinach, a few handfuls at a time, gently stirring until it just begins to wilt. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


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