Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash With Quinoa, Spinach and Walnuts

Celebrate Meatless Monday tonight with Bobby Deen's Butternut Squash With Quinoa, Spinach and Walnuts, and save the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
By: Michelle Buffardi
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There's a strategy to my weeknight cooking. I like my weeknight meals to be easy-to-make, fairly healthy and with leftovers enough to either take to lunch the next day, or versatile enough to transform into another dish later in the week (think pasta sauce becoming Eggs in Purgatory). Bobby Deen's Butternut Squash With Quinoa, Spinach and Walnuts meets all of these qualifications -- it's super healthy (quinoa is a superfood you should be eating more of), ready in under an hour, plus it's great hot or cold so if there's a line at the microwave at work, I don't really have to wait. Bonus: it's made in one pot so there are fewer dirty dishes.

The quinoa is great on its own as a light meal, or paired with a easy and fast lentil soup for a heartier dinner.

Regarding the nuts: Nuts taste better toasted and they don't taste as great when mushy. So don't skip the step of toasting the walnuts (you can brown them in a dry skillet, shaking occasionally so they don't burn, or in the oven) and if you are planning on leftovers, sprinkle the nuts over individual servings of the quinoa instead of the whole finished dish. The next day, pack the quinoa and nuts separately and add the walnuts before you eat.

Butternut Squash With Quinoa, Spinach and Walnuts

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced

2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
1 cup quinoa
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, squash, quinoa and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the squash and quinoa are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Gently stir in the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the walnuts.

Per Serving: 345 Cal; 14 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 3 g Mono Fat; 60 g Carb; 9 g Fiber; 11 g Sugar; 239 mg Calcium; 7 mg Iron; 147 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol

Vegan bodybuilders, what?! One of the most common questions a vegetarian or vegan hears is, " But how do you get your protein?" We all need it, and bodybuilders especially need to bulk up on this essential nutrient. So is it possible to get all the nutrients you need from going meatless on Mondays, or always? Athletes like Jimi Sitko and a handful of other top bodybuilders think so; they've adopted a vegan diet to improve their health and strength, loading up on plant sources for protein and other nutrients instead of beef, chicken and eggs. Did you know that oat bran has 16 grams of protein per cup and chickpeas have 18 grams? Important facts to know if you're looking to clean up your diet . . . or bench press your body weight.

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