Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries, Preserved Lemon – Side Dish, Entrée or Salad for Thanksgiving and Beyond
Perhaps, like me, you’re feeling a bit behind in preparing for Thanksgiving this year. Thus I was so excited to make Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries, Preserved Lemon and have it come out so deliciously. That’s why I’m rushing to share this versatile recipe with you just in time for Thanksgiving and beyond.
This is the dish you can use to fill in the blanks in your Thanksgiving menu. Serve Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries, Preserved Lemon as a welcome entrée for vegans and vegetarians or as a flavorful side dish for everyone. Or, if you make it in advance and toss it with your favorite vinaigrette, you could serve it as a salad.
Hopefully you happen to have a jar of preserved lemons in your fridge just waiting for a chance to shine. This is important as it takes about 6 weeks for fresh lemons to become preserved lemons.
Without that jar of preserved lemons, you can find them in most Middle Eastern grocery stores. Other than that, Amazon offers a number of different brands. Be sure to order them asap if you want them in time for Thanksgiving.
However you can do it, do include preserved lemons in this dish. It won’t be the same without them. Their complex flavor and silken-texture adds brightness, tang and salt to rev up the flavors of all the other ingredients. Truly, preserved lemons make Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries, Preserved Lemon exceptionally tasty and full-flavored.
Get yourself a Y peeler
Whoa, peeling butternut squash has never been easier, faster and with less waste then when done with a Y peeler. This is the one I so happily use.
Remember when peeling butternut squash to make a second pass with the peeler to remove the fibrous green-veined layer hidden below the skin. For just below that layer you’ll uncover the bright orange, creamy and sweet-flavored flesh.
Thanksgiving Guide & Checklist
If you haven’t already done so, take a look, then print out my Thanksgiving Guide & Checklist. Once in hand start checking items off. Prepare your menu, shopping lists, timelines and prep lists. With all this done in advance, you’ll be ready to enjoy Thanksgiving and all your holiday entertaining with more ease and less stress.
Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash,
Cranberries, Preserved Lemon
You could easily cut this recipe in half, but why? Make the full recipe and you’ll have enough for lunch and/or an easy dinner during the week. For a quick salad, toss any leftovers in a vinaigrette dressing, such as Shallot-Mustard Vinaigrette or my new favorite Apple Cider Vinaigrette.
Inspired by and adapted from a recipe from David Lebovitz.
Vegan and Gluten-Free.
Makes 12 cups Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
1 ½ cups wild rice blend, i.e., Lundberg Organic Wild Blend
½ cup wild rice
4 ¼ cups unsalted stock or water
Rounded ¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
⅔ cup pecans
4 ½ cups ⅓-inch peeled, diced butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Large pinch salt
1 large onion, ¼-inch diced
1 cup ⅓-inch diced celery
½ cup dried cranberries, preferably fruit sweetened
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and pressed or minced
1 large preserved lemon, flesh removed, peel ¼-inch diced (rounded ½ cup)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ¼ cups coarsely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup coarsely chopped or thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake the pecans for 10-12 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Remove from the oven. Raise the heat to 475 degrees.
- Rinse and drain the wild rice blend mixed with the wild rice. Add it to a large saucepan along with the stock or water, salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot. Lower the heat so the rice cooks at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the rice sit for at least 5 minutes before removing the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Drain the rice of any excess liquid before using.
- Peel and dice the butternut squash. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Spread it out in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast the squash at 475 degrees about 20 minutes until tender and lightly colored. Transfer the squash to a large bowl. Turn off the oven.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the diced onion. Cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.
- Raise the heat to medium. Stir in the diced celery, dried cranberries, garlic and a large pinch of salt. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the celery is tender. Transfer to the bowl with the squash.
- Add the diced, preserved lemon peel along with any juices on your cutting board into the bowl along with the ground cinnamon and cooked wild rice.
- Just before serving Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries, Preserved Lemon stir in the chopped parsley, mint and toasted pecans. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.