Butternut Squash Quinoa Bowl {Sweet and Savory}

A large white bowl of butternut squash quinoa on a wooden cutting board.

It’s that time of year again, where we crave comforting flavors and cozy weekends. This butternut squash quinoa bowl is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Warning: you might not be able to stop eating it. 

Even though cutting butternut squash can seem daunting, this recipe only takes about 30 minutes to make. 

Quinoa acts as a base and the salty bacon pairs well with the sweet butternut squash. Top each bowl with walnuts for the added texture and crunch, and drizzle with honey for the perfect sweet and salty bite! 

This recipe is not only delicious – it’s relatively easy, super nutritious, and quite filling {Gluten-Free}. 

Reasons to Try This Butternut Squash Quinoa Bowl

  • Warm, comforting flavors: The salty bacon, the sweet honey and butternut squash, topped with savory parmesan cheese screams comfort – perfect for winter (or any time of year). 
  • Only 7 Ingredients: The combination of these 7 ingredients together is so simple, yet flavorful. 
  • Healthy, and high protein: A macro-friendly meal with 4 grams of fiber from the whole grains and 39 grams of protein – this bowl will definitely keep you full and satisfied. A good source of iron and potassium.


Butternut Squash Quinoa bowl Ingredients

Butternut Squash (one medium or large)

I used one medium butternut squash, cut into cubes and roasted in the oven. Butternut squash is packed with vitamin C (right in time for sick season), a good source of fiber, and magnesium.  

To make things a little easier, buy already cubed squash or even frozen butternut squash! 

Quinoa (1 cup, uncooked)

Quinoa is one of the only grains that is considered a “complete protein”, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It’s gluten-free, and a good source of phosphorus, zinc, folate, magnesium and iron. 

I love quinoa, but if you’re not a fan then rice, farro, barley or pasta would be great substitutes. 

Chicken Breast(2 medium chicken breasts)

Chicken breast adds more high-quality protein to this dish, ensuring a filling, satisfying meal. 

Chicken thighs or sausage would be great replacements as well. This recipe is very high in protein, so you could easily cut down to one large chicken breast to lower the calorie content.

Bacon (5-6 slices)

The bacon adds some saltiness and crunch to this super nutritious bowl. 

Freshly Shredded or Grated Parmesan Cheese (1 cup)

Freshly grated parmesan cheese elevates the flavors and brings the comfort to another level.

Chopped Walnuts (1/2 cup)

For additional crunch, I topped each bowl with some chopped walnuts. Walnuts are a good source of healthy fats, protein and fiber!

Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper

Season the chicken breast and butternut squash to taste.


A drizzle of honey to top off the dish creates the perfect balance of salty and sweet. 


  • Add cinnamon and nutmeg to elevate the sweet flavor. 
  • Try goat cheese instead of parmesan cheese.
  • Crispy pancetta instead of bacon!
  • Top with red chili flakes for spicy, sweet and savory – which I personally love. 

Butternut Squash Quinoa Bowl Instructions

A butternut squash quinoa bowl on a wood cutting board with a bowl of honey and chopped walnuts in the background.

Here’s the step-by-step instructions for this sweet and savory butternut squash quinoa bowl. A mix of nutritious and savory ingredients make this the ultimate power bowl, ideal for fall and winter.  

1. Cut Butternut Squash Into Cubes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, prepare the butternut squash. 

Cut off the ends of the squash, and cut into thirds or down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.


Using your knife or a potato peeler, peel off the skin of the squash.

Cut the squash into uniform, bite-sized pieces. 


Click here for more detail on how to cut a butternut squash, but just know that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be delicious. 

I used this vegetable chopper to get the squash pieces into even, uniform bites.

2. Season Squash and Chicken

Place the squash cubes onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Spread the butternut squash out so they aren’t too close together. 

Season the chicken breasts with the same spices, and place on the baking sheet if there is room. If not, air fry or roast the chicken on a separate pan. 

Put the baking sheet in the oven and set a timer for 25 minutes.

3. Prepare the Quinoa

While the squash is cooking, prepare the quinoa according to package directions and keep it on simmer when finished cooking. 

4. Cook the Bacon and Grate the Parmesan Cheese

While the squash and quinoa are cooking, it’s time to prep the bacon and parmesan cheese. Place 5 pieces of bacon on a plate, and microwave for convenience. Grate about 1 cup of parmesan cheese. 

5. Check on the Squash At 25 Minutes

After 25 minutes, check on the squash and the chicken. If the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and keep warm. Return the squash to the oven and check on it in another 5-10 minutes.

For me, the squash and chicken were both finished cooking at 25 minutes. The squash should be soft in texture

6. Assemble the Bowls

Cut the chicken and bacon into bite-sized pieces.

Layer about a 1/2 cup of quinoa as the base, then spoon some of butternut squash cubes, bacon pieces, and chicken on top. 

Sprinkle on some parmesan cheese. Add about 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts. Then, drizzle with honey.

A close-up of a butternut squash quinoa bowl with a forkful.

Recipe Tips

  • Pound the chicken down to ensure it cooks in 25 minutes, along with the butternut squash.
  • Use frozen butternut squash cubes or already cut butternut squash cubes to eliminate cutting it.
  • Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for some spice (which I prefer). 
  • If you don’t have honey, agave or maple syrup could work. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Store Leftovers?

To prevent foodborne illness, refrigerate for up to 4 days and freeze for up to 3 months. 

Can I Make Anything Ahead of Time?

The quinoa could be made up to 3 days ahead of time, as well as the butternut squash. Leftover or frozen chicken could be used as well. 

What Could I Substitute for Quinoa?

Rice, farro or barley would be good substitutes for quinoa. Use microwaveable grain packets for an even simpler meal!

A large white bowl of butternut squash quinoa on a wooden cutting board.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Bowl {Sweet and Savory}

Alex Evink, MS, RD
It's that time of year again, where we crave comforting flavors. This butternut squash quinoa bowl is a combination of sweet and savory, a perfect balance of nutrition and decadence. It's super simple to make and packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, iron and potassium {Gluten-Free}.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 474 kcal


  • 1 medium butternut squash, cut into cubes (or frozen, cubed butternut squash)
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked (or 2.5 cups cooked)
  • 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste


  • Assemble all ingredients and equipment. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut the ends off the butternut squash. Slice into thirds, and scoop out the seeds and pulp using a spoon. Using your sharp knife or a vegetable peeler, cut off the skin. Dice the butternut squash into uniform, bite-sized pieces.
  • Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread out so they are not too close together.
  • Season chicken breast with same seasonings. If there is room, add your chicken breast to the pan. If not, cook on separate baking sheet or air fry. Place in oven for 25 minutes.
  • Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Leave on low or simmer while the chicken/squash is cooking.
  • Cook the bacon in the oven or microwave until crispy. Grate parmesan cheese.
  • Check on the chicken and squash after 25 minutes. Remove from oven when the chicken breast has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Cut the chicken and bacon into bite-sized pieces.
  • Assemble the bowls:1/2 cup of quinoa as the base. Top with butternut squash, about 1-2 slices of bacon diced, chicken, parmesan cheese, and 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts. Drizzle with honey.


This recipe packs a nutritional punch – packed with fiber from the squash, quinoa and walnuts. Simple, fresh, comforting and satisfying. 
Use frozen butternut squash cubes, or already cut squash cubes to eliminate the step of cutting it!
For a vegetarian option, omit the chicken or add some chickpeas or tofu to replace.
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving  
Calories 474
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19.6g 25%
Saturated Fat 3.8g 19%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 603mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 35.6g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 5g  
Protein 38.2g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 875mg 19%
Keyword 30-minute meal, gluten-free breakfast, protein bowl, Quinoa Bowl

It’s That Simple

There you have it! A super simple, delicious and nutritious butternut squash quinoa bowl that can be made in under 30 minutes! 

6 easy steps and you have yourself the ultimate comfort dish packed with protein and fiber for a beautiful, relaxing fall or winter day. 

Want more butternut squash? Try this cottage cheese butter squash pasta recipe or this healthier, hidden veggie macaroni and cheese

Please rate and review if you try this! Let me know if you did anything differently. 

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