Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chicken Quinoa Stew

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This hearty, healthy stew is perfect comfort food for cooler Fall days! With yummy ingredients like quinoa and butternut squash this fantastic meal cooks itself in the crockpot.
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Quinoa Chicken Stew

Konrad and I received a beautiful slow cooker with recipe book for our wedding. And I think we used it maybe … once or twice (?!) in our first year of marriage. Then we decided to travel and we had a garage sale in an attempt to minimize the things we had to put in storage.

I am ashamed to say that I practically gave away that slow cooker during the garage sale. And I regretted it deeply.

While traveling I discovered so many fantastic food blogs and Pinterest. Both of which have an abundance of mouthwatering slow cooker recipes. I was sad to know that no slow cooker was awaiting me back home. I couldn’t wait to try all these delicious recipes I had seen online.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Quinoa Chicken Stew

But then I got lucky. Just as we returned my mother-in-law got herself a new slow cooker – aย Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking Systemย which is awesome, by the way. I have used it and I love its ability to pre-brown right in the slow cooker. Fewer dishes and pots is always a win.

Anyway, MIL has a new slow cooker and we got her previous one, which is still awesome. And we use it at least once a week (!) now. With our crazy busy working schedules it is great to come home to ready-cooked meals. Usually I cook a full pot so we have dinners and/or lunches for at least 2 days.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Quinoa Chicken Stew

This wonderfulย Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Stew with Chicken Quinoaย (what a mouthful – I know) came into being one day when I really felt like combining some butternut squash with quinoa. This sounds so cliche but I literally threw a bunch of ingredients into the slow cooker not knowing what to expect in the end.

Well, we absolutely loved the result – a flavorful, slightly spicy and hearty stew. Perfect for these cold Canadian winter days that don’t seem to want to end. We actually loved it so much that I made it again the following week. This time I actually paid attention and wrote down what I ‘threw’ together.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chicken Quinoa Stew - This hearty, healthy stew is perfect comfort food for cooler Fall days! With yummy ingredients like quinoa and butternut squash this fantastic meal cooks itself in the crockpot.

This recipe doesn’t even require any pre-browning of the meat. The most time-intensive part is peeling and cutting the butternut squash. Using a really good, sharp knife is the best advice I can give.

I love to eat it straight up as a stew, while Konrad prefers it on top of another carb like steamed brown rice.

4.7 from 7 reviews
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chicken Quinoa Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This hearty, healthy stew is perfect comfort food for cooler Fall days! With yummy ingredients like quinoa and butternut squash this fantastic meal cooks itself in the crockpot.
Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 6 cups)
  • 14 ounces (1¾ cups) diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  1. In a small pan heat the olive oil, then saute chopped onion and garlic until lightly browned.
  2. Place chicken breast in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add all other ingredients on top of chicken and cook on high for 3-4 hours or 7-8 hours on low.
  3. When finished cooking, discard bay leaf. Take out chicken breasts and shred with 2 forks etc. Return shredded chicken to stew and stir to combine everything evenly.
  4. Serve topped with fresh parsley.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 Calories: 468 Fat: 18.5g Saturated fat: 4.6g Carbohydrates: 43.7g Sugar: 9g Sodium: 871.5mg Fiber: 5.5g Protein: 37.2g Cholesterol: 82.6mg

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    • Regina says

      Seems like we got back to some warmer weather but for tonight there is snow in the forecast again! Soup and stew season pretty much all year round here

      • JoAnna says

        My husband told me multiple times that this recipe needs to go in our “Favorite Recipe” book and he wanted me to make it again soon. He was nuts for it, as was I! Thank you for sharing!

  1. says

    Found your recipe via Meg duerksen’s blog (, currently have this in the crockpot now! Four hours is too long to wait! Thanks for sharing! I’ll be sure to check out more on your blog


  2. maggie says

    Looks great and can’t wait to try, but just wondering about the quinoa. Do you throw it in raw or cooked? Raw needs to be rinsed quite thoroughly before cooking I believe

    • Regina says

      Hi Maggie, the quinoa I usually buy (from Costco) comes prerinsed. If yours isn’t, definitely give it a cold water rinse first. But still add it raw. Hope you enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Emily says

    Hi Regina, I made this tonight and love the flavor. The butternut squash was not as soft as I anticipated. I placed frozen chicken at the bottom and cooked on high for 4 hours. How firm was your butternut squash? Thanks for sharing! Will definitely make this again.

    • Regina says

      Mmmm…I actually had the opposite case. Mu squash cubes were so soft, I had to watch not to over-stir otherwise they would all have turned into mush. Maybe adding the chicken frozen really slowed down the cooking process? When I need to quickly thaw something, I just put it in a ziploc in hot water in the sink while I get everything else ready.

  4. says

    I made this for Josh and I tonight! The flavours were lovely!!! And the combination of butternut squash , chicken, and quinoa were fantastic (I also threw in some potatoes). Love it!!!

  5. tlcrn says

    This is SOOO Good!!! I happened to have some chicken thighs thawing when I came upon this recipe last night, so made it today. YUM!!! Thank you!
    p.s. I found pre-cubed butternut squash at the grocery today- 2 pkgs = to about 1 medium-large squash.

  6. Rhiannon says

    I made this for the hubby and I this past Sunday and it was awesome! We added extra garlic and cooked it and the onions in the fat from the chicken for a little extra flavor. Between the two of us, the whole batch was gone in a couple days!

    • Regina says

      Awesome! My husband and I are the same with slow cooker meals. We love them soo much and can easily finish a big family recipe between the 2 of us ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Jen says

    This recipe sounds great, and I have it in my crockpot right now. One question — how big is your slow cooker? I put 1/2 cup quinoa in and everything else, and I only had room for 4 cups of broth. My pot is filled to the top, and I am pretty worried about the quinoa expanding and having a disaster. My crock pot is an average size and other recipe I’ve tried I have had room to spare.

    • Regina says

      Hmm…I have a pretty standard 6 quart slow cooker. I don’t recall ever having issues of everything fitting, so I assume your’s is smaller? Any way you could cook only part now and another batch later?

  8. says

    I am always on the lookout for healthy & tasty recipes for my family and this one is awesome!! The entire house smelled so good as it was cooking and the taste was just as good as the smell. ๐Ÿ™‚ This will be a “Keep” in my recipe files – with one minor change….the next time I will cut back on the cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes. I am a wimp when it comes to spicy and it was just a bit too much for me. I also included the link in a healthy living program that I am a part of. Thank you for such a great recipe!

    • Regina says

      I loved reading your feedback Eileen ๐Ÿ™‚ definitely adjust the spice level to your tolerance. And thank you for sharing my recipe. Much appreciated

  9. Jenn says

    This recipe is just finishing in my slow cooker. It seems a little watery. Any suggestions to thicken it up for a more stew consistency?

    • Regina says

      Hmm…maybe you can puree some of the squash and stir it back in to thicken up? I do that with potato soup to make it creamy without actually adding cream. Otherwise, you can always make a cornstarch or flour slurry with a cold little water and stir it into the stew. Similar to thickening sauces.

  10. Ashley says

    How many pounds of chicken do you estimate the 4 chicken breasts were? We buy our chicken from the local farmer so it’s not packaged like those typically found in stores.

  11. Brad Osmond says

    We made this last night and it was fantastic. I used kobocha squash which is a firmer than butternut so it stayed together quite well and has a great flavour (some say even better than butternut!). Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Regina says

      Thanks for your great feedback, Brad. I love kabocha squash. We currently live in Thailand and it’s the only squash variety they have here. Funny enough, they call it ‘pumpkin’ though ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Abby says

    This recipe looks amazing! I am really looking forward to making this! I am looking to make something a bit thicker than stew. Do you think simply reducing the amount of chicken broth would do the trick or is it necessary to include all 7 cups? Any advice on how I could make the recipe a little thicker from the start?

  13. Megan says

    I really didn’t know what to think about the flavor combination of spices at first, but it turned out to be one of the more delicious crock pot meals that I’ve made!

  14. Meli says

    AWESOME dish! I am making it right now as I write this … I added a peeled and cubed granny smith apple just for a pop of sweetness to go with the squash. I’ll keep ya posted on how it turned out. Meanwhile, the aroma is fantastic!

  15. says

    Made this tonight for the ‘cold’ weather we’re having in south FL…… hubs loved it! My mom wasn’t keen on the curry but we’re fans. Would prob throw in some kale next time for some green. Thanks for sharing! Will post on fb too.

    • Regina says

      Thanks for the great feedback! Kale sounds like a great addition. And I totally get you on the curry. We love it but I can never use it when cooking for my parents.

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