I made the most delicious Butternut Squash Rice Salad yesterday and could not wait to share the recipe with you all! With roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, feta cheese, and pumpkin seeds, this rice salad is bursting with flavor and nutrition. Plus, it’s just plain gorgeous!
I came up with this for a fall picnic with one of my girlfriends, who is gluten free. I decided on a fall rice salad since rice is gluten free. This dish exceeded my expectations. If you’re looking for a delicious gluten free side dish for Thanksgiving, this it it! I will be making this healthy dish all season long.
This is a perfect make-ahead recipe. You could even roast the butternut squash a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. Except for the roasting time (which is hands-off) and chilling time, this rice salad takes mere minutes to throw together. The maple vinaigrette with that little bit of mustard is unbelievably delicious.
Let me confess: I had a very busy day the day I made this and used three 90 second rice packets and it turned out amazing. Can you use a different kind of rice? Sure! Would goat cheese be delicious? Yep! Could you add pistachios or pecans? Absolutely.
The vinaigrette recipe makes a little more than you need but (1) I like a little extra to toss with leftovers, as some of it will be absorbed by the rice and (2) leftover maple vinaigrette is perfect for green salads! This dish would make a great fall lunch, side dish, or picnic dish. I added chilled grilled chicken for our picnic and it was perfect.
Butternut Squash Rice Salad
4-5 cups cooked long grain rice
1 pound butternut squash, cut into cubes
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3-4 ounces feta cheese
2-3 Tbsp sliced green onions
Maple vinaigrette, recipe follows
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes or until fork-tender. Let cool.
- Combined rice with roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, green onions, feta cheese, and pomegranate arils. Toss with about half the maple vinaigrette and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours. Add more vinaigrette before serving if desired.
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
- Whisk together ingredients. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed.