Winter Squash, Black Bean, and Quinoa Stew
Moving out to the country has left a lot of room for change in our day-to-day lifestyle. One of those ways has been realizing that regular grocery store trips can just not be a thing for us anymore. We still live an equal distance to Iowa City that we did before, where we have always done most of our major grocery shopping. What we did not realize was that we actually frequented quite a few of the smaller stores near us a lot more often than we had originally thought. Moving always makes you realize what you might have forgotten or what has been packed away and can be dealt with later. It's expected that you may not have all of what you need in the kitchen. Well, it's been over a month of living in the real country, and I officially hate running to the store! When it comes to cooking, I feel like with where we are now, we need to purchase twice as much to make sure that we do not run out! It makes sense to me why everyone around here has a membership at Costco. You need things in bulk and quite often. I find that the Amish grocery, Stringtown, makes total sense for those that live on acreage several miles out. It's much more convenient to have stocked up on flour all at once rather than every few trips. Why do the trips seems longer and why are we going through more food? I believe it's because now that we live out here, we don't have anywhere to go out to eat. There are no restaurants, fast food, gas stations, or dollar stores for over 10 miles. It's pretty wild and different for us!
There was a night a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to be a little more creative with my cooking. We had made more than enough grocery store runs in the past weeks and were tired of going out. It was a night where we had to rely on what we already had stored to create a meal. I am finding that living out here is teaching me to use up the food that I so carefully stored for our meals. How does that happen? In ways, I feel that if we had stayed living in town where we had access to a local grocery store, Amish stores, a Subway, two gas stations, and four local restaurants we may have never reached into the storage freezer for a meal. It's sad. Food should not be wasted, yet we do it when there's the convenience of someone else there to cook it for you. Thus became the creation of winter squash, black bean, and quinoa stew. It was fabulous. I dug through our storage freezer and pulled out a few bags of homegrown butternut squash, sweet corn, spinach, and reached for the cans of diced tomatoes I had worked so hard on months before. It gave me chills, honestly, realizing that I was living exactly what I had hoped for in the summer months. That and the freezer was open.
- 1.5 lbs butternut squash, cubed
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 1 green pepper
- 3.5 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1.5 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2-3 tbsp parsley
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz)
- 1 can black beans (15 oz)
- 3/4 cup sweet corn
- 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss the squash with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with the paprika and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
- In a large soup pot, heat the other 2 tbsp of olive oil until shimmering. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Add the green pepper and spinach, tossing until bright green and withered.
- Pour in the vegetable stock (though water is perfectly fine!), herbs, diced tomatoes, black beans, sweet corn, and quinoa. Bring to boil and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Add the squash and some salt and pepper to season. Heat on medium/low for another 5-10 minutes. The soup will be thick! If you'd like more liquid, add more stock. We liked the stew consistency! Serve warm with fresh bread.
We were not expecting the sweet and delicious flavor from this stew! It was made by tossing in a majority of the vegetables we already had on hand. My mom called it "friendship stew," something she used to make at scout camp. I thought that was funny! I honestly think that any veggies you can throw together in a pot with some good stock is a thumbs up in my book. The addition of quinoa or any other grain for that matter was such a treat. It made the stew that much more hearty and delicious. I definitely recommend grabbing some quinoa or maybe farro or black barley to try!