This seems to be a week of butternut squash recipes, since I posted one yesterday and I’m posting another today. Truthfully, I could eat winter squashes just about every day, regardless of the season. Today’s recipe for gingery rice with roasted butternut squash, onion and green peas is a new favorite. It’s simple, savory, and roasting the vegetables gives it so much depth of flavor.
I love winter squash so much that it tends to outshine any other ingredient in any recipe, but the star of this dish was in many ways the rice I used: Madagascar pink rice from Lotus Foods. This rice, which I received in my Vida Vegan Con swag bag, has a subtle sweetness and a beautiful pink hue. I also found that it’s slightly sticky rice when cooked: not so sticky as sushi or black rice, but a little more sticky than regular ole short grain brown rice (which is what I tend to cook with). A few more fun facts about pink rice:
- Cooks in only 20 minutes
- Whole grain and heart healthy
- Gluten and wheat free
- Nutritionally dense, milled to retain most of the wholesome bran layer
I rarely say “no” to rice that cooks in 20 minutes—what a gift! I couldn’t wait to use this new whole grain when I saw it in the swag bag, and it didn’t disappoint; I loved the hint of sweetness, and I even thought I could detect a faint cinnamon flavor, too.
Of course you could cook your vegetables with the rice for this dish, and that would turn it into a one-pot meal. But I promise that there’s good reason for the roasting. It brings out the caramelized sweetness of both the squash and the onions, and that ends up lending really valuable flavor to the whole meal. A salty, gingery marinade completes the dish and is a perfect counterpoint to the sweet roasted veggies.
- 1 or 1¼ lbs (16-20 ounces, or about 3-4 cups) butternut squash, cut into ¾-inch cubes
- 1 white or yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 apple (any variety), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon safflower, grapeseed or canola oil (for roasting the vegetables)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup pink rice (substitute short grain brown rice* or black rice)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
- 2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger (substitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 heaping cup frozen and thawed green peas
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place the squash, onion, and apple on it. Coat with vegetable oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are all tender and the squash is caramelized, stirring a few times during cooking to prevent burning.
- When you've got about 20 minutes of roasting time left for the vegetables, cook the rice according to package instructions. While the rice cooks, heat a small pan of water to boil and blanch the peas for about a minute, then drain them.
- Whisk together the olive oil, tamari or Bragg's, rice vinegar, ginger, and apple cider vinegar and set aside.
- When the rice and vegetables are done, transfer both to a large mixing bowl. Add the peas and the marinade and mix everything well. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more tamari or vinegar as needed. Serve.
Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. They can be frozen for up to 1 month.
You really can’t go wrong with this dish. It’s absolutely delicious, the ginger gives it a little exotic flair, and in spite of the cooking steps, it comes together with very little effort. I urge you to try it the next time you’ve got some squash on your hands! And naturally, you can use a rice of your choice.
Thanks, everyone, for inquiring about the Orgo test! I will tell you that I saw a kid throw his own test into the trashcan and leave the auditorium about halfway through, and that’s a fairly accurate representation of how most of us felt. Then again, the thing about these hard science classes is that there’s always a curve, and when everyone feels as though they were just destroyed by IUPAC naming and reaction mechanisms, it’s hard not to go home with a sense of beleaguered camaraderie. What will be, will be.
And no matter what, there’s good food to come home to.