Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash + Quinoa

by Amy on 14 February 2013

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash + QuinoaApologies for the lack of posts recently! I take 99% of my food photographs outside on my deck, where the lighting is wonderful. Lately, however, it’s been gray + drizzly in Nashville, which is making it mighty hard to take pictures outside. The good news is that sunny weather is in the forecast for the next few days, so I’m making it a priority to get cookin’, get outdoors + get some good photos to share!

In the meantime, here’s an absolutely fantastic recipe that I first made/photographed last year, but somehow forgot to share with y’all. This time of year, when the weather is cool + rainy, I love filling yet healthy soups + stews. This one incorporates all the things i love: tender chicken, sweet butternut squash, healthy quinoa, + a wonderful combination of savory spices. While it’s low in fat + calories, it’s amazingly filling + hearty. As an extra bonus, it’s full of vitamin A, vitamin C, + fiber – things that my body is always happy to have. So, if you’re looking for a delicious, stick-to-your-bones stew (that won’t stick to your hips + waistline!), give this a try!

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash + Quinoa

serves 6, adapted from Cookin’ Canuck


1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded + chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups chicken broth
the meat of 1 rotisserie chicken (about 3-4 cups), shredded (i used both white + dark meat)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup pitted + quartered kalamata olives (i omitted these because of an olive-hatin’ husband, but i’d recommend adding them in for additional flavor + color!)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces + set aside.

Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash coarsely with the back of a fork. Set aside.

In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onion + cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic + oregano – cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.

Add the diced tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash, chicken broth, + quinoa. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover + cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken, kalamata olives, + salt + pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, until chicken is heated through + sauce has thickened to your liking. For me, this took about 10-15 more minutes. Add more salt/pepper if needed, to taste.

Garnish with the fresh parsley + serve.

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations February 14, 2013 at 6:27 am

I love the look of this. Looks like perfect comfort food to me!

2 sarah k @ the pajama chef February 14, 2013 at 7:56 am

this looks awesome! i think the only butternut squash i’ve had in soup before has been pureed, so this is a great idea. :)

3 danielle February 14, 2013 at 8:18 am

ooh – this sounds like a big bowl of comfort.

4 EA-The Spicy RD February 14, 2013 at 8:48 am

Happy Valentines Day Amy-I would happily gobble up a big bowl of this today! Hope you get some good weather soon. I just got back from Key West on Snday , and although it is sunny here, it’s been hard re-adjusting to temps in the 40s and 50s vs in the 70’s. At least no rain though…sending sunny skies your way :-)

5 amy February 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

Thanks, EA! Your good vibes must’ve worked, because it’s a gorgeous sunny day here today! =)

6 Jennifer February 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

ohmygya this looks delicious….can’t wait to try it!

7 amy February 14, 2013 at 10:10 am

You’ll have to let me know what you think when you try it – I bet you’ll dig it, since I know we have similar taste in comfort food soup/stew/casserole dinners!

8 claire @ the realistic nutritionist February 14, 2013 at 10:28 am

oh what a gorgeous bowl of comfort food!!

9 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious February 14, 2013 at 11:07 am

I hate that our job revolves around sunlight! I get to shoot in natural lighting only on the weekends and when it rains on those days, I get so annoyed! Ugh.

Anyway, this stew looks amazing – so hearty, so comforting! I don’t care if it’s 80 degrees in LA, I’m still making this!

10 Megan @ girl by the lake February 14, 2013 at 11:09 am

This looks so comforting and delicious! Happy Valentine’s Day to you! I hope you and your hubby are able to enjoy it!

11 amy February 14, 2013 at 11:13 am

We’re going to a Nashville Predators hockey game! Not your typical romantic evening out, but it should be lots of fun. a bonus? neither of us have to do any cooking or cleaning up after dinner. win!

12 jackie @ Domestic Fits February 14, 2013 at 11:13 am

I love this! I’m such a soup girl, I even eat it in summer. This looks fantastic!

13 Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen February 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I feel your pain…I’ve been thinking of getting a pair of those lowel ego lights to try and combat the dark cloudy days here in Virginia. This stew looks fantastic though!

14 amy February 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I’ve heard that those lowel ego lights are pretty good! I thought about DIYing some for myself a few months ago … and then got lazy + didn’t. might be time to finally try them!

15 Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen February 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Ok you are putting me to shame. This is a great healthy meal which I really need to start making more of. You have inspired me!

16 Jen @ Savory Simple February 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I hate being at the mercy of the weather! Well it was worth the wait, this looks awesome.

17 angela@spinachtiger February 14, 2013 at 5:38 pm

As soon as I opened this, I wanted it. Hearty, healthy, right up my alley. Glad you remembered to share this one, Amy.

18 kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts February 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I’d love to only cook when the light is best for photos. Darn family wants to eat every day. Sometimes multiple times a day! The nerve of them!

This looks delicious, despite my aversion to quinoa’s appearance. Thanks!

19 amy February 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Oh goodness, I WISH i could only cook whenever the light is best. unfortunately, my husband + i would’ve starved if that was the case. i still cook usually 3 meals a day, every day – i just only *photograph* the food when the light is good. =)

20 Beth February 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm

That’s a great combination of flavors. (Stews make my heart sing, too.)

And I share your pain over trying to take pictures on an overcast day. We’ve had a few of those lately!

21 Natalie February 14, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Great stew! Hearty and healthy and perfect for the winter!

22 luv what you do February 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm

OMG! I will need to make a batch of this soup to make it through the winter! This looks so tasty…I love all of your amazing and hearty recipes!

23 Amy Tong February 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Yum…this chicken stew sounds perfect for the gloomy weather you’re having! I love healthy and hearty recipe like this. Hope you’ll get more sunshine soon and I look forward to your future posts and recipes. 😉

24 Nik@ABrownTable February 15, 2013 at 9:30 am

I love the look and sound of this soup, it looks vibrant and delicious and hot, perfect for this weather!

25 dixya @ food, pleasure, and health February 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

i would take this soup any day :) i hope you guys gets lots of sunshine and more delicious recipe ideas for us. Hope you had a great valentines day!

26 Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama February 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I have a ton of quinoa cooked up in my fridge and have been contemplating using it up in a soup. This would SO hit the spot tonight.

27 angela @ another bite please February 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

i so love these flavors…butternut squash and quinoa! what a comfort meal….and heard about your weird cold snow weather you guys had there…we were getting lots of rain :-( can not wait for spring!

28 Choc Chip Uru February 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

What a delicious looking hearty meal :)

Choc Chip Uru

29 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking February 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Wow, what a stew! This looks so warm, hearty and delicious Amy. I definitely know what you mean about the lighting… in the winter it can be frustrating. Just one of the reasons I can’t wait for summer. :)

30 amy February 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Amen, Georgia! There are a lot of reasons I’m looking forward to summer – better lighting, warmer temperatures, the return of sundresses, + of course, all the great warm weather produce. =)

31 JulieD February 15, 2013 at 5:48 pm

This looks so good and I cannot wait for summer!! just not the hot part of summer.

32 Caroline @ chocolate & carrots February 16, 2013 at 6:00 am

Totally understand the lighting dilemma. I only have two one hour windows where the light is good here…it’s always a rush to get the light! Oh, and this soup looks amazing! I actually have almost all of these ingredients on hand…sounds like dinner! :)

33 Amy (Savory Moments) February 16, 2013 at 6:22 am

This looks delicious! I was just thinking of what to do with a couple winter squash I still have stored in the basement from the fall. I understand the lighting dilemma…. I have no place for good light through the winter and it’s almost always dark when I’m cooking – the light is starting to be longer though!

34 Julia February 16, 2013 at 8:48 am

I totally get the lighting dilemma–I have the same problem. Ugh!
This soup looks just wonderful! I am pinning this and trying it out.

35 Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen February 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I totally understand about the weather! It makes it so hard to take nice photos – blah! This stew looks amazing, I seriously can’t wait to try it :-)

36 LeAndra February 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I am always on the lookout for new ways to eat quinoa and butternut squash (though not necessarily together), and this looks delicious! The photograph is absolutely gorgeous too.

37 Monet February 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Smile. I’m right there with you. I take a lot of my photographs outside too! This chicken stew looks heavenly! Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you had a fabulous week, and I hope your weekend brims with good food, laughter, and love.

38 Elizabeth February 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Chicken and quinoa together in a soup sounds so filling and yummy!

39 Jed Gray (sportsglutton) February 17, 2013 at 7:55 am

Never used butternut squash in a chicken stew, but I’m totally on board with the idea!

Hope you’re having a great weekend Amy. :-)

40 Tracey February 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Oooh, I think I pinned this recently from Dara’s site. So fun to see it here, it has me craving it once again :) I’ll trade your gray and drizzly weather for my mountains of snow? Bring on spring!

41 Meghan February 17, 2013 at 7:32 pm

This is just what I need to cope with the mounds of snow right now! It looks gorgeous on that aqua dish too!

42 wendy (the weekend gourmet) February 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

This look so good…I have part of a bag of butternut squash from TJs that is needing to be used in a delish dish. Think I found it!

43 Marina February 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Amy! You are killing me, girl! This looks fantastic!

44 val February 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Your picture is amazing. I love the flavor combinations in this.

45 Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste February 19, 2013 at 10:33 am

I would love a bowl of this for lunch right now! Do you deliver? 😉

46 amy February 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

I’m always happy to deliver, Kelly! =)

47 katie February 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm

mmm this sounds great. I recently added quinoa to a soup and loved it!

48 ashley - baker by nature February 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Stews like this beauty make my Winter bearable! Love this!

49 Elizabeth @ The Waspy Redhead February 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

I love the colors in this photo, beautiful!

50 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com February 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Comfort food at its best and I love how bloggers prioritize with the weather to take good photos 😉 I do it myself too!

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