Creamy butternut squash roasted with maple syrup, paired with nutty wild rice and tart cranberries makes for a delicious gluten free, vegetarian, even vegan side dish. The serving suggestion makes portion control easy for a large group, although you may want to make more than one per person!
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Wild Rice and Cranberry
1 butternut squash, peeled
1 cup wild rice
1 cup long grain brown rice
4 cups water or stock
1 cup whole fresh or frozen cranberries, sliced in half
½ cup maple syrup
Make a mixture of 1 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tbsp olive oil.
Drizzle some olive oil into a medium saucepan. Add the brown rice and wild rice and toss around in the oil for a minute to coat and get the pan hot. Add 4 cups of water or stock and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook over low heat for 30 – 35 minutes. About 10 minutes into the cooking process, add the cranberries and remaining maple syrup, stir, and cover to finish cooking. Check for doneness – the rice should be firm but not crunchy, and the wild rice should have just a few kernels bursting open. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Peel the butternut squash while still whole. Lay the squash on its side and slice ½ inch rounds out of the solid upper section. With the remaining section, cut small dice chunks and set aside.
Brush the maple syrup and olive oil mixture all over the squash rounds. Place on a foiled baking sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. About half way through the cooking process, toss the small diced chunks of squash in any remaining oil/syrup mixture and place them on the open areas of the baking sheet (they will cook faster than the rounds will).
To serve, place a scoop of the rice and cranberry mixture on top of each squash round. Garnish with a few chunks of the diced squash. For an extra maple kick, drizzle a little maple syrup on top as a final dressing.