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

by Gena on October 5, 2011

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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 Bragg’s or 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.


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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga October 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm

“Are we all gearing up for a long weekend? ” <— I am not even sure why I would be…probably a holiday that I don't know about? Googling that one next. Whoops!

As for not turning it into a one pot meal, I chuckled because I am the queen of that. But you're right, you have to cook these things separately otherwise the flavor muddles. Or cook them 80% of the way separately and then finish them all off in one pot.

I love the pop of the green peas…and the pink rice. So pretty!

Reply October 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

That pink rice is fascinating! I must get some soon! I really am excited by your last few recipes– the food looks so wholesome and healthful and I can’t wait to try some of these creations.


McKella October 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Wow! I bookmarked this straight into my recipes tab. I have two giant butternuts hanging out on my kitchen table until I find a fun new way to use them. I think I just did, thanks!


Lauren October 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm

One of my favorite dishes right now is healthy “faux fried” rice. This just took it up another step! Will you come over and make this for my birthday tomorrow please? ;) Kidding but this does look fantastic!


Ela October 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I didn’t know it was a long weekend?
‘Beleaguered camaraderie’–I love it! –Hope it all comes out well.

Love, too that you admit to possible autosuggestion about the cinnamon note–we’ve all been there!


Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles October 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Aside from time this seems fairly effortless! I’m loving all these squash recipes around the blogworld. Now I just need to get my hands on that rice!


Hannah October 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Yet another looking delicious-looking recipe, Gena!

I am sorry things were rough during your exam-I’m sure you did better than you think you did, though! Exams are coming up for me, too…


Hannah October 6, 2011 at 12:14 am

I’m sure you did better than you think, and even if the result isn’t quite what you’d dream of? Ain’t nothin’ gonna take away from the awesome, compassionate, inspiring, and courageous doctor you’ll be in the real world. Fact.


Raychel October 6, 2011 at 4:28 am

If it’s any consolation, we’re having a huge orgo exam today, too. Stereochemistry and I are going down…. ;-(


Gena October 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

Good luck, Raychel!!!


kate October 6, 2011 at 6:52 am

Looks delicious as always.
I habitually cut cooking times for grains by around a third by pre soaking them in boiling water for around an hour before starting to cook. I just dump them in saucepan, cover them in boiling water, leave ‘em, rinse them clean an hour later, which gets rid of excess starch, or if dealing with quinoa, that bitter layer of saponins, and then boil them up for real. Sometimes this means you need a little less water, but it cuts cooking times dramatically, which if you’re dealing with long grain brown rice is always a huge plus.


Karen October 6, 2011 at 7:32 am

This dish looks great though I think I’ll swap out the peas for perhaps edemame as I’m not a pea fan. I was captivated by the Lotus brand black “forbidden” rice last winter and cooked it regularly, so this exotic pink variety intrigues me.

Great to hear your positive, realistic attitude re. your exam results. You did your best; onto the next challenge! Happy weekend to you, Gena!


Gena October 6, 2011 at 8:00 am

Funny, Karen, because I have an edamame and rice dish in mind for next week. This one is delicious not matter what — enjoy!


Carissa October 6, 2011 at 9:22 am

This looks so delicious, I wish I had a bowl right now! The pink rice makes it look extra pretty, too.


Lauren October 6, 2011 at 9:43 am

This looks great! And Gingery Pink? Gotta love that! ;)


MizShrew October 6, 2011 at 11:36 am

Must. Make. This. Soon! Looks so fantastic.


Heather @ Better With Veggies October 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

That’s a good looking bowl of rice! I’m hoping our Whole Foods has this, because it really looks incredible.


Ali October 6, 2011 at 3:27 pm

It sounds as though some of your class mates have a real flair for the dramatic! I am sorry to hear that it is all so challenging, but your right, it is an awesome way to bond a group of people together! I think you have become a cooking fiend! And that is awesome. I love the use of pink rice here, and the idea that you are introducing this new ingredient to so many readers! Awesome.


Tracey October 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

So yummy! I made it for dinner with the load of squash my mother-in-law gave me from their farm. Keep the butternut recipes coming. I am going to try yesterday’s recipe soon- I have my eye on one last zucchini in our garden.
Thanks for all the great recipes during your crazy class schedule!


Lauren October 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Lovely. The weather’s getting warmer here and I can see myself making a big batch of this for a lovely cool rice salad during the summer… there’s just something about ginger that makes it compulsory eating during scorching heat. :)


Pure2raw twins October 6, 2011 at 7:50 pm

love the colors in that dish! so vibrant and full of life :)
girl you know we love our ginger!!

hope all is well! we need to catch up soon!!!


Heather October 7, 2011 at 7:07 am

This dish looks so comforting and colorful. Lovely!

I’ll be in NYC this Sunday for a blogger event on West 24th Street, near Penn Station. Any recommendations for great vegan restaurants? :-)


Sara (The Veggie Eco-Life) October 7, 2011 at 9:53 am

It looks incredibly yummy! As did your previous recipe with the zucchini and squash. I love it how your recipes look healthy and supertasty at the same time. Thank you for the tip on the article, at first look it looks interesting, so I’m definitely going to read it soon.


Zoe October 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I just made this, it was lovely!! I served it over a plate of raw spinach and I used brown rice. This is definitely the kind of food I am craving at the moment! Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you post Gena, you always keep me enthused to eat well!


Kate (Bread & Chocolate) October 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Thanks for the pink rice suggestion. I’m a huge fan of forbidden rice (I buy Lotus Foods). It’s wonderful with a bit of sesame oil and fresh lime – but careful, the rice will stain your wooden spoon a dark purple hue. Good flavor for a gluten-free diet.


Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul October 9, 2011 at 8:34 am

This looks great. I was in Thailand and Bali this summer, and I’ve been missing the incredible red rice that they serve. I’ve never had pink rice, but I’m definitely going to get some asap! Love the ginger : )


Jenna October 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

You’re awesome. Just putting that out there. Thanks for bloggin’!


Valerie @ City|Life|Eats October 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

You were right – this is such a recipe I would love love love. Yum.


Auden October 11, 2011 at 9:32 am

I made this recipe last night and I’m back just to say how delicious it was! Perhaps my favorite recipe that I’ve tried off your blog. I used brown rice, acorn squash, and ginger paste, because that’s what I had lying around the house, and sadly didn’t have any apples. But it was scrumptious nonetheless! It was hard not to eat the extra portion I made for my work lunch.


Magda @ No Food Diet October 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Wow, this looks yum! My burning question is, how can I get my hands on some of this organic (or organic transition) pink rice?


Claire M October 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I made this last night and thought that the dressing was a little overpowering and gingery for the roasted veggies. That said, I did LOVE the dressing and am massaging some kale with it tonight and topping the kale with some quinoa and a half an avocado with a squeeze of lemon!


Laura Neff December 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Yum, Claire! Using the dressing on kale sounds GREAT! Thanks for sharing that tip!


melissa October 17, 2011 at 1:34 pm

this looks divine and so perfect on a crisp fall day.


Marisa October 27, 2011 at 4:09 am

Tried this last night and it was DIVINE! I’d never cooked with coconut oil before, so couldn’t wait to try out your recipe. The smell in my kitchen was just heavenly. I used basmati rice instead of pink rice, but all good. Thanks Gena! Will definitely make this again. xo


Laura Neff December 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Yummy! I just came across Madagascar Pink Rice this afternoon at the store and remembered your post. This was delicious! (Btw, freezer-burned edamame does not make a terrifically tasty substitue for the peas. Otherwise, we *loved* this!) :) Thanks for another great one, Gena!


Mari January 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I just made this…

Gena you are a genius!


Gab January 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I just made this, subbing quinoa for the rice and adding some baby spinach and lentils, and it was lovely. Absolutely delicious!

Thanks Gena!


Sara January 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Gena, I must tell you how amazing this dish is. I made it last night and was skeptical because it was so incredibly easy to make, but when it all came together it blew my mind! The tangy, gingery kick from the dressing is just perfect against the caramelized roasted veggies and apple, and I love the addition of peas for color and texture. This has become a favorite for me, and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers. Thanks for posting this awesome recipe! xo


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