No Meat Zone Recipes: Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans

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This colorful rice pilaf with butternut squash, cranberries and pecans is perfect for a vegan Thanksgiving. With lemon and orange juices, fresh ginger and spices, the dressing provides a shock of flavor.

Even better, this pilaf is 100% guilt-free. Wild rice (which is actually a grass) is vegan, gluten free, high in protein and fiber, and low in fat.

I prefer this served as a warm pilaf, although it also makes a delicious salad if you want to prepare it in advance.

Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups wild rice, rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or half water, half stock)
  • 1 medium, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on two baking sheets. Roast until tender and starting to brown, about 20 minutes (check earlier if your pieces are very small).
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Place the dried cranberries in a bowl with the warm water and vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, orange juice, lemon juice and fresh ginger.
  6. Place the wild rice and stock in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until some of the grains start to split. The rice should still be quite chewy. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.
  7. Add the onions and garlic, cranberries, parsley, pecans and dressing to the wild rice and stir. Gently mix in the roasted squash. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Cathy Elton
Cathy is a Brooklyn-based food blogger who focuses specifically on heart-healthy food. A long-time foodie, she suddenly learned that she has hereditary heart disease. But she turned her health issue into a cooking challenge, and developed a heart-healthy, vegetarian cooking style that’s spicy, satisfying and adventurous. Cathy is on a mission to inspire others to eat the way she does, and shares her recipes on What Would Cathy Eat?

Photo credit: Cathy

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