Gingery Pink Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash, Onion, and Green Peas

Happy Hump Day! Are we all gearing up for a long weekend?

In keeping with yesterday’s butternut squash theme (if you hadn’t guessed, I buy the stuff in bulk), I thought I’d share the wonderful rice dinner I whipped up last night using my favorite autumn vegetable. 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 exotic 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
  • 3rd year transition, organic certification
  • Fair trade
  • 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 swear I could taste a hint of cinnamon in it, even though the likely reality is that I’d read that on the packaging.

This dish is not a one pot meal. It involves roasting vegetables first, whipping up a marinade for the rice, and cooking the rice on its own. But, for the incredible depth of flavor and caramelized goodness that comes from roasting, I beg you not to turn this into a one-pot meal and cook your veggies with the rice; it just won’t taste the same! Keep in mind, too, that the roasting requires no effort, and that you can do this all as you study, work, or putter around the house.

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Pink Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash, Onion, and Green Peas (vegan, gluten free)

Serves 4

1 lb butternut squash, cut into small cubes
1 small onion, diced
1 small apple, diced
1 tbsp coconut oil
Sea salt and pepper
1 cup pink rice (brown or black is fine, too!)
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsps tamari
1 tsp agave
2 tsps powdered ginger
1.5 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (I use low sodium)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 heaping cup frozen green peas

1) Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place the squash, onion, and apple on it. Coat with coconut oil and salt and pepper to taste, and roast for 40 minutes, or until it’s all getting caramelized.

2) When you’ve got about 15 minutes left on the veggies, start the rice, either in a rice cooker or on the stovetop. Cook with the 2 cups water according to package instructions.

3) Whisk together your olive oil, tamari or Bragg’s, agave, rice vinegar, ginger, and apple cider vinegar and set aside.

4) By the time your rice cooks, the veggies should be done. As soon as the rice is ready, toss in the roast veggies and the frozen peas (you don’t even need to pre-steam them, I swear: the hot rice will cook them instantly!). Finally, add a few tablespoons of the oil/vinegar/tamari mix. I must have used about 1/4 cup, but you could definitely use more or less according to taste.

5) Serve with a hearty salad for a wonderful, savory and sweet dinner!

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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.

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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.

xo

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