Wild Rice has to be one of the best bases for salads. It has a nice chew and and a nutty taste; what could be better?
The health benefits alone in this Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad will induce you to create this dish at least once a week for your family for the entire year! Packed with protein, manganese, vitamin B1, potassium, and calcium, you’ll want to enjoy a healthy serving as often as you can.
To top it off, whole grain rice (includes the outer covering of the shell called bran and germ) has been proven to keep you full longer, thereby being a nutritious and beneficial ingredient for losing weight.
September is National Rice Month AND Whole Grains Month. I can’t think of a more fitting recipe to celebrate this month than this Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad in which I use Whole Grain Red Rice and Basmati from my favorite rice farmers, Ralston Family Farms, a 5,000-acre multigenerational sustainable family farm.
I have to say I am incredibly privileged to be partnering with this iconic American brand and the people behind the brand. This family farm represents the American dream captured through generations of hard work.
I met Robin Ralston over a year ago and from just one conversation felt as if she were family. Our love for America, the land, sustainability, and agriculture cemented our bond. Just hearing her passion as she told me about the many kinds of non-GMO rice they grow, harvest, and package right there on the farm gave me a new excitement to create myriads of rice dishes, including this Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad fit for a king.
Using Ralston’s Whole Grain Red Rice mixed with Basmati gives this dish the perfect texture. The red rice has a wonderful nutty flavor and “chewy” texture that plays well with the more delicate texture of the Basmati rice.
When mixed with the herby vinaigrette, roasted butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, you’ll find an amazing marriage of flavors that pair well with heavy to light meats and fish for any meal.
This dish is wonderfully serendipitous! Not only will it tantalize your taste buds, it’s beautiful! With the red, green, and white, it should grace the Christmas table in addition to the picnic table in mid-summer.
This dish can be served hot or room temperature.
You can find Ralston Family Farm Rice at your local Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Fresh Market, and Fresh Thyme stores.
For other rice salad ideas, check out my Wild Rice with Pecans, Cranberries, and Toasted Walnuts , or for a rice meal, check out my Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole!
Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad
- 1 Butternut Squash halved
- Olive oil for sautéing and drizzling
- 1 cup Whole Grain Red Rice
- 1/2 Basmati White Rice
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup green onions chopped
- 1/2 dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup salad or champagne vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a sheet pan, place halved butternut squash flesh-side up and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven until squash can be pierced easily with a knife, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool until it is easily handled. Carefully cut in-between the flesh and skin, then cut flesh into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, add whole grain rice and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until rice is tender, about one hour. Remove from heat and let stand covered 5 to 10 minutes.
- In another medium-sized saucepan, add Basmati rice and 1 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cover for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a medium skillet, add pumpkin seeds and toast on medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until the seeds are lightly golden and toasted. Remove from pan to parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, add vinegar, mustard, honey, parsley, thyme, and oregano. Slowly drizzle olive oil into the bowl continuously stirring as you drizzle until emulsified.