Central Valley Harvest Bake

Central Valley Harvest Bake
Makes: 6 Servings
Total Cost:
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
A succulent side dish that provides a striking contrast of flavors and textures. 


3 cups Fresh butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed 1/2"
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Fresh red onions, peeled, diced
2 1/4 teaspoons Fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded, diced
1/4 cup Fresh red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1/8 cup Red quinoa, dry
1/4 cup Canned low-sodium black beans, drained, rinsed
3 1/2 teaspoons Fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup Sweetened applesauce
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons Fresh lime juice (optional)
3/4 cup Low-fat granola, no fruit


1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. 
2. In a large bowl, toss squash in 1 tsp olive oil. Spread onto a large baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Roast in oven at 350 °F for 30 minutes or until tender and lightly brown around the edges. Remove and keep warm. 
3. In a small bowl, toss onions, jalapeno peppers, and red peppers with remaining olive oil. Spread vegetables evenly onto a baking sheet sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray and roast in oven at 350 °F for 15 minutes or until tender and lightly brown around the edges. Check the vegetables often, they will brown very quickly. Remove and keep warm.
4. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear, not cloudy. Combine quinoa and ½ cup water in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer until water is completely absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. When done, quinoa will be soft and a white ring will pop out of the kernel. The white ring will appear only when it is fully cooked. Fluff with a fork. Set aside. A rice cooker may be used with the same quantity of quinoa and water.
5. In a large bowl, combine squash, black beans, quinoa, and oregano. 
6. Mix in applesauce, salt, and optional fresh lime juice. 
7. Add onions, jalapeno peppers, and red peppers. Mix well. 
8. Pour mixture into an 8” x 8” nonstick baking pan. Press gently to pack. Sprinkle granola evenly over the top of mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 °F. Granola should be lightly browned. Serve hot.


Our Story 
The rich agricultural region of Manteca, California, grows many crops annually, including winter squash, pumpkin, corn, watermelon, and almonds. It was very important to the recipe team that they include locally grown produce in their recipe and introduce healthy, delicious vegetables to the students. Thus, butternut squash, a deep orange-colored winter squash with a sweet, nutty taste similar to pumpkin, was chosen as the featured vegetable of Central Valley Harvest Bake. 
This succulent side dish combines the sweetness of butternut squash with the spicy kick of jalapenos and red peppers and is baked together with black beans, red quinoa, and granola for an absolutely delightful mouthful. It complements a variety of entrées, including grilled chicken or roast turkey.
Joshua Cowell Elementary School 
Manteca, California
School Team Members
School Nutrition Professional: Sandy Helsel 
Chef: Bryan Ehrenholm (Owner, Pure Joy Bakery and The Lunch Pail Restaurant) 
Community Members: Bonnie Bennett (School Principal) and Mary Tolan-Davi, RD (Community Registered Dietitian) 
Students: Cameron H., Genesis M., Andrew R., Matthew M., and Elizabeth B.


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Not just a side dish This recipe has black beans, grains, and vegetables...It's a great "all-in-one" and doesn't have to be a side dish!
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