Butternut Squash

I often credit the Thanksgiving holiday as the inspiration for my vegetarianism. The year I was 15 I realized that if I became a vegetarian I would never have to eat turkey again. Sounded good to me, so I signed on and basically never looked back. So that means I’m not one of those sad Thanksgiving vegetarians eying the smoked or deep fried or “drunken” turkey or turducken or whatever and feeling left out because the holiday centers around a big dead bird. (If those sad T-day vegetarians even exist – I am secretly of the opinion that no one actually likes turkey.)

But I can only eat so much stuffing, mashed potato, and dinner roll, so I figured it behooved me to figure out something both tasty and festive to bring to my family feast as a vegetarian main dish. I googled “vegetarian Thanksgiving” and came up with a lot of very wheat-heavy recipes, which (as phenomenal as Mushroom and Fennel Bread Pudding sounds) weren’t going to work since the point for me was to have an option besides stuffing and rolls. So I googled “vegetarian gluten-free Thanksgiving,” and, thank goodness for the interweb, came across several mentions of a Martha Stewart Living recipe for Quinoa and Butternut Squash Pie. It sounded perfect, although when I looked over the recipe I was worried that it might end up bland and lacking in depth. I was in a real rush when I finally put it together, so I didn’t have time to play with or doctor it, other than doubling the amount of parmesan.

So what, then, can I say about Quinoa and Butternut Squash Pie? I made it, we ate it. It was pretty – my squash had such wonderfully thick flesh that it didn’t really make any ring-shaped pieces for the decorative rings on top so I cut out stars instead. Other than that, my instincts were correct. It was bland, it lacked depth. It didn’t suck. People said they liked it, but I think people were too stuffed with drunken turkey to really notice or care.

Quinoa and Butternut Squash Pie

(Kind of a crappy photo because by the time we arrived I didn’t think the 20 or so guests wanted to wait to start eating until I garnished my dish and got the lighting juuuust right…)

(I also find it distracting to have to keep calling this thing a pie. It’s not a pie. It’s more of a… something like a large timbale, I guess.)