Butternut Squash Grain Bowl (Vegetarian Recipe)

This warm and comforting recipe for a vegetarian-friendly Butternut Squash Grain Bowl is a one pot meal that’s easy to make and deliciously nutritious to eat!

Butternut Squash Grain Bowl

When you host a big Thanksgiving dinner for only four adults and one toddler with a tiny appetite, you end up with a LOT of leftovers. This is a very good thing… for three days or so. And then it kind of becomes an obligation as you’re shoveling your billionth bite of mashed potatoes, gravy and turkey into your mouth. Must… not… waste… food.

I did my best to use up nearly all of our leftovers earlier this week but by yesterday I was ready to throw in the towel and say goodbye to turkey and mashed potatoes for next month. Plus, six days of leftovers may be breaking some food safety rules, so there’s that.

Though I am d-o-n-e with Thanksgiving staples, I am NOT done with comfort food. NEVER. Give me all the warm and hearty winter meals for the next few months, please! And if comfort food comes in the form of a one-pot meal that’s packed with good-for-you ingredients, that’s all the better. And that’s certainly the case with this butternut squash grain bowl!

Butternut Squash Grain Bowl

There are two main ingredients in this bowl: Butternut squash (you probably guessed this one) and barley. There’s no meat in this dish and no need for it because this recipe is creamy, filling, nutritious and 100 percent deliciously vegetarian. And what if I told you that this recipe is high in fiber (thanks, barley!), vitamin C and potassium and includes ingredients that help strengthen immunity (oh hey, flu season!), reduce inflammation and strengthen your bones? Yes, yes, yes!

Butternut Squash Grain Bowl

While all of that is nice, the taste is truly be best part of this dish, so grab a spoon and dig in!

Butternut Squash Grain Bowl

Butternut Squash Grain Bowl
Author: Julie
Recipe type: vegetarian, one pot meals
Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  40 mins
Total time:  50 mins

Serves: 6

A warm and comforting one-pot recipe for a vegetarian-friendly Butternut Squash Grain Bowl that’s easy to make and deliciously nutritious to eat!
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 heaping cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups fresh spinach

  1. Heat oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Add onion and thyme and cook until onions are slightly soft, about five minutes. Add barley and allow to cook, stirring constantly, for approximately two minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add broth, butternut squash, salt and pepper. Stir constantly and allow to simmer until broth is nearly completely dissolved and butternut squash begins to break down. Use a wooden spoon to help crush any large chunks of butternut squash so it becomes creamy and stir continuously. (This whole process should take 30-35 minutes.) It’s okay if some chunks of butternut squash remain but you want it to be mostly creamy and dissolved to make a thick, rich broth.
  3. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
  4. Add spinach and stir until leaves are somewhat wilted. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
  5. Divide into bowls and enjoy!


(Recipe inspired by my throwback Butternut Squash Wheatberry Risotto)

One Pot Butternut Squash Grain Bowl

Nutritional Information

Per serving: Calories: 365 / Fat: 8g / Sodium: 699mg / Carbs: 58g / Fiber: 10g /  Sugar: 3g / Protein: 20g

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