Squash Quinoa Bowl with Creamy Cashew Sauce

Squash Quinoa Bowl

This Squash Quinoa Bowl with Creamy Cashew Sauce has been on a regular rotation the past few months and without fail colleagues comment on my lunch:

“Your lunch is beautiful!”

“That looks so healthy and delicious!”

“What a fancy lunch!”

They are right. This Squash Quinoa Bowl with Creamy Cashew Sauce it beautiful. It is healthy. It is delicious! And it looks like a fancy lunch, but it doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare. I spent 25 minutes on Sunday making lunch for the week.

Lunch grain bowls with squash and kaleAnd it makes me happy. It reminds me of our trip to Seattle last summer. I love books and usually try to find a unique bookstore to visit when I travel. Imagine my joy when I stumbled on the Book Larder. Not only is it a bookstore, but it’s a bookstore with only cookbooks and other food books.

Don’t do what I did. I went on a day they were closing early, just 30 minutes before they closed. AND I was leaving town the next day. I immediately began dreaming and scheming of how I could make my way back to Seattle, so I could spend more time at the Book Larder and possibly attend one of their events. Check their hours before you go and their events schedule. Pick out some amazing books!

While I was there I picked up a copy of Amy Pennington’s Salad Days. Amy reimagines the salad in many different ways. There are no ho-hum iceberg lettuce salads in this book. The salads are inventive, delicious, and quite the inspiration.

I made Amy’s recipe for Red Quinoa with Crispy Kale, Charred Butternut Squash, and Cashew-Honey Dressing. And in my usual style, I made this tweak and that tweak until I settled on this recipe, which is the perfect meatless, healthy lunch that will satisfy your hunger. It’s the perfect winter lunch.

Okay, so back to the recipe. I’ve told you this recipe is easy, just 25 minutes of preparation for lunches for the week. What’s even better is these quinoa bowls can be assembled ahead of time without getting soggy and sad. I’ve got mine stacked up in the fridge just waiting for me to grab one in the morning before heading into work.

Make ahead grain bowls

These 4-cup round Pyrex containers are my favorite for lunches. They are perfect for grain bowls and salads. They easily stack in my fridge and fit perfectly in my lunch bag.

Squash Quinoa Bowl

Squash Quinoa Bowl with Creamy Cashew Sauce

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American


This quinoa bowl with winter squash and kale topped with a creamy cashew sauce is the perfect blend of spicy and sweet and a great addition to your lunch rotation.


  • 3/4 cup red quinoa
  • 1 small winter squash (delicata, acorn, butternut), cubed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch kale (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup hot water (almost boiling)
  • 15 oz garbanzo beans (about 2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 loosely packed cilantro, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Quinoa: Cook the quinoa with 2 cups water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid until cooked. The water should be absorbed when done.
  3. Squash: Cube squash and toss with chipotle powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Spread squash on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Be careful to not crowd the squash on the pan or else they will steam rather than roast.
  4. Kale: Tear kale into bite size pieces. Sauté in a skillet over medium heat with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Cook 5 minutes until kale has wilted and is bright green.
  5. Cashew sauce: Combine cashew butter, cumin, honey, and lime juice and blend with an immersion blender or standard blender. Add hot water gradually until a smooth sauce forms. Additional water may be added to thin the sauce if needed. If sauce is too thin, add more cashew butter.
  6. Assemble the bowls layering quinoa, kale, squash, garbanzo beans, cashew sauce, and cilantro.


The quinoa bowls can be assembled ahead of time and kept in the fridge for about a week. Reheat in the microwave to serve warm.


  • Calories: 702
  • Sugar: 16.4
  • Sodium: 484
  • Fat: 26.2
  • Saturated Fat: 4.3
  • Carbohydrates: 95.8
  • Fiber: 23.5
  • Protein: 29.4
  • Cholesterol: 0

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