One-Pot Curried Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Chickpeas

By Joanne Bruno | Last Updated: January 23, 2018

One-Pot Curried Quinoa with Butternut Squash

For the longest time I characterized the one-pot meal right up there with the Loch Ness monster—likely a figment of my imagination, but wouldn’t it be kind of cool if it did really exist? Most of the recipes I found that claimed to be one-pot called for a sauté step in one pan and a simmer in another, with everything ending up in the same casserole pan by the end of the night. Delicious, possibly, but a true one-pot meal? Not so much.

Then along came Martha Stewart’s one-pan pasta last summer and all of a sudden everything changed. Not only was the one-pot meal a real, tangible thing, but it could also be made in 30 minutes flat, including prep time. Whoa.

The more one-pot pastas I made (and there were many), the more I got to thinking: Why should pasta have all the one-pot fun? Other grains most certainly deserved their chance in the easy weeknight-meal spotlight.

one-skillet curried quinoa 2
This one-skillet curried quinoa was my first venture into the world of pasta-less one-pot meals, and it most certainly will not be my last. The beauty of this dish is that not only does it come together in one pot, but it makes use of all the bags of frozen veggies you stocked your freezer with ages ago and then promptly forgot about. (#winning!)

First, an onion and a few aromatic spices are sautéed together to enhance their flavor and texture. Then quinoa, coconut milk and water are added into the skillet and simmered together so the quinoa can fluff up and absorb all of that great curry flavor. Finally, frozen veggies are added to the pot during the last few minutes of cooking to allow them to thaw and soften. Add in a dash of lemon juice for a hint of tang, give the whole pot a big stir, and all of a sudden dinner is served without having to dirty every pan in the kitchen. A much-welcomed weeknight rarity, if ever there was one.


One-Skillet Curried Quinoa with Butternut Squash & Chickpeas

One-Pot Curried Quinoa with Butternut Squash | Oh My Veggies

One-pot meals don’t have to be limited to pastas or heavy stews! This one-skillet curried quinoa is a light and richly flavorful meal, made even easier by the use of frozen veggies.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound frozen butternut squash
  • 1 pound frozen mixed peppers
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  1. Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and saute until translucent and tender, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the curry powder, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom. Sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the coconut milk, water, quinoa, and 1 teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck bits. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, then stir in the frozen vegetables and chickpeas. Return the lid to the pot and cook for 5-15 minutes more, or until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. After the quinoa is done, turn off the heat and let sit, covered, until the vegetables and chickpeas are warmed through, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Garnish with parsley and serve.


Make this meal your own by using 2 pounds of whatever frozen veggies you happen to have in your freezer.

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Girl way to get me excited. Only one lot and there is butter it squash involved! This is amazing! I love curry with pumpkin never thought of it with butternut squash but it will definitely be a must try! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Love the idea of one-pot quinoa! I haven’t gotten around to trying the one-pot pastas yet but I always see them everywhere and the idea is really appealing…

You should try them! It somehow feels so much easier to get dinner on the table knowing that you’re only going to dirty one thing.

Not a silly question at all! I used the cubes, but to be honest, most of it kind of melted into the quinoa to form more of a sauce anyway, so I think you could probably use the puree as well!

I’ve been itching to try a one-pot pasta for awhile now, and just haven’t gotten around to it. I love one-pot grain dishes, and make them quite often. And no way are there two pots in that equation. Washing two pots when it’s not necessary is a monster…right? All of the spices in this sound great Joanne!

I actually have fresh veggies- fresh squash to be cut up and zucchini- how could I alter the recipe for this?? Would I have to cook longer or saute/steam first do you think?

I would throw the winter squash in with the quinoa from the beginning but add the zucchini only in the last few minutes of cooking!

I think millet would definitely work! Sorghum takes a lot longer to cook than either millet or quinoa, so that probably wouldn’t work out so well.

I made this the other night. I roasted the squash the day before and then put it in and kind of mashed it so it mixed in with the quinoa. Looks weird but tastes good.

It’s totally up to you! We ate it as its own dish, and it is certainly filling enough on its own, but it’s your choice.

I’m sorry but this did not work out right for us.
The butternut squash from frozen takes a lot longer than 15 mins to cook.
Once the frozen veg is added the pot goes cold and takes around 15 mins just to warm up slightly.
So at the moment the dish has been on just over an hour and the butternut squash is still tough.
The spices just tasted like we just added curry powder and packed no other punch than that.
This is my wife and I’s first foray into vegan in a new move for us.
Maybe vegetarian food just isnt supposed to be what we are used to.

Yeah I had the same problem… I doubled the recipe and the frozen veggies just took too much heat out of the pot. I’m throwing the pot into the oven for a few min to see if that heats it up quicker.

I just need to start by saying THANK YOU JOANNE! This is just the kind of easy quinoa dish I have been scouring the interwebs for!
I have made this a couple times already, and it is a hit. I brought it to a potluck and everyone was raving! When I make it I use mostly fresh (non-frozen) veggies since that is what I tend to have on hand. I use a bit more veggies than the recipe calls for and to adjust for that I upped the spices to 1.5x what is called for in the recipe (trust me on this, it just takes it over the top). After 3-4 mins of cooking the onions I throw in the butternut squash and cook for a couple more minutes until I start seeing the squash take on just the first hints of browning, then I add the spices, liquid & quinoa. After the 15 mins, I add the peppers, chickpeas & some half thawed frozen cauliflower (to avoid the overcooling the pot) & let it cook the full 15 mins.
The first time I made this I garnished with some fresh cilantro which was tasty, but once I increased the spices it didn’t even need an herby garnish, so I let it go naked now.

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