It doesn't get anymore comforting than a bowl of hearty butternut squash stew! With quinoa and beans, this is a fantastic plant-based meal that comes together so easily.
My love of butternut squash stew started with one of the most popular recipes on my site, Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa. So many of you have made that recipe over the years and commented to tell me that it's now a family favorite in your households, which makes me ridiculously happy!
If you are an olive person, don't omit the kalamata olives. They add fantastic flavor! For our family, I serve the olives on the side so any who wants them can add in as many as they like.
What you need for this butternut squash stew:
These are the main components of this recipe (affiliate links included):
- Butternut squash: If you’re short on time, pre-cubed butternut squash is a handy option that’s available in the produce section of many grocery stores. Admittedly, I often take the lazy route and go for the pre-cubed version. If you buy a whole squash, scroll down for directions on peeling and cubing it yourself.
- Quinoa: Either regular white, red or tricolor quinoa works.
- Beans: Cannellini (white kidney beans) or Great Northern beans work for this recipe. If you don’t have any of those on hand, substitute with red kidney beans or chickpeas.
- Seasoning: Sautéed onion and garlic form the base of this stew, then dried oregano, dried thyme, salt and pepper are added in.
- Broth: I used vegetable broth. However, if you don’t have veggie broth on hand and aren’t concerned about making this a meatless recipe, chicken broth can be used instead.
- Tomatoes: Use a can of petite diced tomatoes, including the liquid.
- Olives: Buy pitted kalamata olives and cut them into quarters. As I mentioned above, these are optional, but highly recommended.
How to make butternut squash stew:
This is a very simple stew to make, which makes it a fantastic option for weeknight meals.
Start by sweating the onions. Cook them in a little olive oil over medium heat until translucent. The goal is to soften, not brown, the onions. Add in the garlic and herbs, and cook for another minute. Take care not to burn the garlic. It takes on a bitter taste when overcooked.
Stir in the cubed butternut squash, canned tomatoes, quinoa and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer the mixture until the butternut squash is tender. Use a fork to test it. The stew should cook at a lively simmer. In other words, it should NOT be barely bubbling, otherwise the squash will take much longer to cook.
Smashing some of the cooked butternut squash with the back of a fork adds really nice texture to the stew. The easiest way to do this is by using a slotted spoon to scoop half of the squash/quinoa/tomato mixture into a bowl. From there, just smash the butternut squash pieces, then mix it all back into the stew in the saucepan, along with the beans.
Taste the stew and adjust the seasonings. If you’re not adding the kalamata olives (gasp!), you may want to add a little extra salt to compensate for the sodium in the olives.
How to cube butternut squash:
I find it easiest to cut a slice off of the bottom of the squash so that it sits flat on a cutting board. Holding the squash firmly, use a regular vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise, then scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers. Cut the squash into strips, then cube those strips. For this recipe, cut the squash into approximately ¾-inch pieces.
What to serve with this vegan stew:
In a perfect world, I like to hit all the colors of the rainbow in our meals. To accompany this stew, a green salad or healthy slaw is a good way to go.
Other vegan stew & soup recipes:
Butternut Squash Stew with Quinoa & Beans
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 ½ lb. (¾-inch) cubed butternut squash (about 5 cups)
- 1 (14 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- ⅔ cup dry quinoa
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (14 oz.) can white kidney beans drained & rinsed
- ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1 ½ oz. pitted kalamata olives quartered*
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the butternut squash tomatoes, quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat so that the mixture is simmering. It should be a lively simmer.
- Cook until the butternut squash is tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of the non-liquid mixture to a bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash the pieces of butternut squash. Return it all to the saucepan.
- Stir in the beans and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the beans are heated through.
- Stir in the parsley and olives. Season to taste. Serve.
Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.