Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Salad

by hilla.kariv on October 20, 2010

butternut squash
Moments before fall arrives, a few leaves are falling from the trees and faint sprinkles of orange leaves all around, that’s when the markets are full of squash and pumpkins of all shapes, colors and sizes and it seems everyone is busy with how to cook them, and what to eat them with.pumpkin

Usually, I like to roast them simply with some olive oil and salt but as we paid a visit our local squash farm with the kids, I returned to my kitchen armed with motivation for something more complex than olive oil. With a little inspiration from a Bukharin recipe I learned from a friend, and some wild rice and chickpeas, you get a colorful and aromatic rice dish, moist and full of flavor- for garlic lovers only!

Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Salad

This is an excellent side dish but can also be used as a main vegetarian course. It keeps well in the fridge and can be eaten at any temperature. Add a green salad for a wonderful light meal.

Making butternut squash

Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Salad

This is an excellent base recipe upon which you can improvise, use any kind of rice or different vegetables. The base recipe accepts change gladly.

17.5 oz/500gr butternut squash – cleaned of seeds and chopped into small cubes (about 1 big squash)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion-peeled & diced
1 cup finely chopped carrots (you can use baby carrots sliced into circles)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 bay leaves
1 can chickpeas- drained
1 cup wild rice mix
2 cups water
¼ cup canola oil
a whole head of garlic– peeled and crushed (no this isn’t a mistake!)
1 bunch parsley – no thick stems, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 450f/250c.

Place the onion and carrots in a large pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt. Cover and steam on low heat until soft, 7-10 minutes. When needed add a tablespoon or two of water. When the onion is soft and transparent add the chickpeas, bay leaves, cinnamon and a little more salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the rice. (I don’t rinse the rice, but you can if you want to). Stir and add the water. If you’re using a different type of rice check the amount of water needed for cooking and adjust. Put a few tablespoons less than the amount mentioned because the vegetables will provide some liquid as well.

Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low heat until the rice is soft. Wild rice will take about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile – mix the butternut squash cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a little salt. Transfer to a flat pan and roast for 20 minutes or until the squash is golden and soft. Stir once in the middle of broiling.

When the rice and squash are ready, heat the canola oil in a small pot. When it starts to smoke place the entire amount of crushed garlic in it add some salt, cover and shake well, while holding the cover with a towel. The pot will storm and shake and smoke. Place on a windowsill or a porch for 5 minutes. Afterwards the garlic should be very soft and golden.

Wait 5 minutes, and then transfer the squash and garlic to the rice pot. Stir well and check seasoning.

dicing butternut squash