Thanksgiving planning begins with this easy flavorful butternut squash pilaf. The whole spices add many flavors to the rice and to the squash. The sweetish squash and the deep spices work beautifully together and make this a fabulous side to serve with any main dish. Cumin adds an earthy flavor, the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon add hints of sweet, scented pockets, the roasted pepper flakes add a light smokyness and Saffron infused water brings it all together. Use other squashes or veggies and spices that you have. Add in some dried fruit like dried cranberries and toasted pecans to make it more festive.
I am planning up some Thanksgiving posts for next week. Last year’s menu (lentil Quinoa Loaf, Cornbread Stuffing, Spicy cranberry sauce, No Bake Pumpkin Pie) was made over 2 days and worked out really well. Let me know if there is anything you want me to tackle in the coming week.
In other news, My book made it to the semi-finals on the Good Reads Choice Awards Best books 2015! Second round of voting here. <3 !
Pictured above, served with Breaded Crispy tofu Strips, Recipe here.
More Rice and other sides from the blog
- Basil Fried Rice
- Rice Kale Pomegranate Pilaf
- Quinoa Pilaf with Tamarind and pumpkin
- Mac and Cheese, many options
- CNN covers Woodstock Farm Sanctuary here
- Meat and Eggs linked to increased risk of stroke.
- Animal news from Paul Shapiro
Butternut Squash Pilaf with whole spices
- 1.5 cups (277.5 g) basmati rice
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 whole cloves
- 4 black pepper corns
- 3 green cardamom pods slightly opened
- 1 2 inch (3 inch) cinnamon stick
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) red pepper flakes
- 2 cups (280 g) Butternut squash peeled and cubed, fresh or use frozen(thawed), 1/2 inch or smaller dice
- 3 cups (750 ml) water
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) salt
- a few drops of lemon juice
- 8 strands of saffron soaked in 1 tbsp warm water for 5 minutes
- Wash and soak the basmati rice. (atleast 15 minutes).
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. when the oil is hot, add cumin seeds. Let them change color, then add the rest of the spices and pepper flakes. Cook until the spices are very fragrant.
- Add butternut squash, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Mix, cover and cook for 6 to 7 minutes.
- Drain the basmati rice and add to the pan. Add salt, water and lemon juice. Mix, cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 18 to 19 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Let it sit for 5 minutes off heat. Uncover and fluff. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
- Drizzle saffron water on the pilaf. Garnish with pepper flakes or cilantro.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. when the oil is hot, add cumin seeds. Let them change color, then add the rest of the spices. Cook until the spices are very fragrant. Add the frozen butternut squash, cover and cook until tender. Add Cooked basmati rice, wild rice or other rice/grain of choice, 1 tbsp of water, salt if needed and mix well. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Let it sit covered for a few minutes. Garnish with pepper flakes and saffron and serve. Nutritional values based on one serving