Healthy Weeknight Recipes: Quinoa Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

This pasta dish may seem simple, but the flavors are bright and complex.

Recipes, styling and photography by Emily Farris and Jeff Akin

When we asked Emily and Jeff of KC’s Feed Me Creative to put together some healthy recipes to help you stay healthy, they jumped at the opportunity to showcase a few of their favorites, like this hearty and healthy pasta.

A tart balsamic vinegar-and-mustard-based sauce coats roasted butternut squash and shallots, which are all tossed with kale and quinoa pasta and topped off with Green Dirt Farm’s Farmer’s Cheese.

We call for quinoa pasta because after a few failed attempts at eating 100 percent gluten free, we both decided that we like the Ancient Harvest gluten-free pasta better than any other dried noodles. It’s available at many grocery stores around Kansas City, but this recipe is also great with whole-wheat pasta.

Active time: 20 minutes  |  Total time: 1 hour  |  Serves: 4


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 5 medium shallots, quartered
  • 1 head red kale, washed, stemmed and cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces quinoa pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 ounces Green Dirt Farm Farmers’ Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Add the butternut squash and shallots to a roasting pan and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and Dijon mustard. Pour the mixture over the squash and shallots, then toss until each is coated. Roast in the oven, uncovered for 30 minutes, until the squash is tender and the shallots are golden brown.

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Then, in a large saute pan, saute the garlic and kale in the remaining  one tablespoon olive oil for five minutes. Add the roasted vegetables to the pan, mix well, then remove the saute pan from heat.

Boil the pasta (stirring occasionally) until al dente, about 12 minutes.

Just before the pasta is cooked, return the saute pan to medium heat. Add the pasta directly to the pan, along with a little of the pasta water.

Mix well, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, then salt and pepper to taste and toss again. Garnish with the cheese before serving.