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Published on December 16, 2013

Wild Rice with Winter Squash and Cranberries

December 16, 2013

Basmati RiceThe cold wind of winter crates a need for comfort, making it a perfect time to warm up the oven and create some delicious recipes using winter squash. Jo Cessna, healthy culinary instructor, has a warm recipe perfect for this time of year.

Store the squash in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Different varieties will store at various lengths of time. Once the squash has been cut, store sealed in the refrigerator up to seven days.

An easy way to prepare squash is to pre-bake. Preheat the oven to 350⁰, wash the squash and pierce a steam hole in it. Place prepared squash on a baking sheet and bake until just barely soft to the touch – about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size. This will soften the shell and make cutting and peeling much easier. It can now be cubed for soups, sautés, or casseroles.


  • ½ cup brown Basmati rice, soaked for at least one hour, or overnight, and drained
  • ½ cup wild rice (does not need to be soaked)
  • 2 cups winter squash (recommend Delicata or Butternut), peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 green onions, very thinly sliced
  • ½ cup red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ - ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or goji berries
  • ¼ - ½ cup pecans or walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons honey or brown rice syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


Put the brown rice in a small saucepan with a dash of sea salt and one cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Put it in a bowl to cool.

Place wild rice in a pot with two cups of water. Bring to a bio, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook uncovered at a gentle boil until the rice is tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. When the rice is tender, drain and add it to the brown rice.

While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 400⁰. Toss the squash with a bit of olive oil. Place it in a baking pan and roast until just tender when pierced with a fork – about 15 to 20 minutes. You can also steam the squash in a steamer basket until tender, five to eight minutes. At the same time, roast your pecans or walnuts on a small baking pan for six to eight minutes, or just until they are fragrant and starting to color. Watch the nuts carefully – they can burn easily!

Whisk the dressing ingredients together, then taste and add more sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and/or sweetener.

When the rice has cool slightly, toss with the dressing and add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine evenly.

Adapted from Nourishing Connections Cookbook: The Healing Power of Food & Community

Do Ahead:

  • The vegetables can all be washed and chopped up to two days ahead of time
  • The dressing can be made up to two days ahead of time
  • Roast the squash and toast the nuts up to a day ahead of time
  • Cook off the rice a day ahead of time or in the morning


  • This salad can be eaten warm or cold. Adding cooked, diced chicken, turkey or tempeh turns this into a main dish
  • Feel free to make the salad with all brown rice or wild rice. Both are wonderful. 
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