Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf

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By Nancy Buchanan

50 comments

4/10/2011

by Nancy Buchanan on October 4, 2011

It never rains in California…” HAH!!! I’ve got news for them… it does rain in California.. even in October!!

Now, this might not be a big deal for you if you don’t live in California but for those of us who do.. well it is (and yes, it’s the small things that make us happy!)

For me, rain means “fall” and “fall foods”… so I am totally exploiting this weather  – I don’t care that it was over 80 this past weekend – I am digging right in.. it may not be cool enough for sweaters but I am going to take what I can get!!

So, to start the ball rolling I decided to kick it off with a very fall inspired pilaf. Roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, pecans… even the colors are fall inspired!!

Butternut Squash and Cranberry PilafBC3 Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf

Now, since I believe in full disclosure, I am going to tell you that this pilaf is a little bit of work… but the payoffs are worth it!! It not only tastes delicious but it’s very versatile. Serve it as a side with some roasted chicken, pork or beef (or a large salad if you don’t eat meat). Put the extras (if you are smart enough to make extra and I’m telling you now, DO IT!) in the refrigerator for a great rice salad for lunch the next day. So, the bit of time you invest making this will pay off during the week… leaving you more time to enjoy the fall colors or snuggle up in a sweater with a good book (hey, a girl can dream, can’t she??)!

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

2 hours

Yield: 4 generous servings

I used a wild rice mix from Trader Joe's but any one would work (except pre seasoned ones!). You will have more dressing than you need. Since the rice absorbs the dressing, you may want to add more the next day if having the pilaf as a salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice mix
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/4 cup minced italian parsley
  • 1 cup citrus dressing

Instructions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Add the butternut squash and toss with 1 Tbsp. canola oil Season with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 20 - 25 minutes or until softened and slightly caramelized. Remove from oven.
  2. While squash is roasting, combine the stock and rice in a large saucepan. Cover and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  3. While rice is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the 2 Tbsp. of canola oil. Add the chopped onions and saute for about 6 minutes until translucent. Reduce heat and continue to cook onions until slightly caramelized. Remove onions from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add pecans to saute pan and cook over medium heat, until toasted - watch closely so they don't burn!. Add the cooked rice, butternut squash, onions and dried cranberries. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the citrus dressing. Stir. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more dressing if needed. Garnish with minced parsley if desired. Serve!
 Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy Lean October 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

This looks like the perfect dish for today… and you say it’s a lot of work – but it’s not – a roasted squash and some wild rice and a sauté pan! Bon appetite!

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Nancy October 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Thanks Lucy!! You are right – it really isn’t but it does look that way.. totally pays off though if you get a couple of meals out of it!!

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the urban baker October 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

wow – it really is fall; cranberries and butternut squash. It doesn’t get more “harvesty” than that. I love the idea of incorporating it into your rice – something I need to keep in the back of my food brain! Looks delish – Nancy. And how ironic – it rained today!

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Nancy October 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I know!! I love adding veggies/fruit to grain dishes – another great way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into the diet – love how they lighten the grains!!!

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Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] October 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

I would love a plate of this pilaf right now!

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Nancy October 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Wish I had some left… but it was lunch a couple of days ago!!

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Lindsay @ Schnoodle Soup October 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Delicious! I could honestly eat that for an entire meal!

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Nancy October 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I have a confession to make… I have!!! Thanks for stopping by the Table!

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Julia October 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm

SO about this rain today. It’s sent both my husband and I in a tail spin. We both want to sit on the couch drinking hot chocolate eating junk food watching movies. This rice pilaf would be a much better choice, that’s for dang sure! It looks fab!

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aida mollenkamp October 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Oh, how colorful! And you have some of my favorite flavors in this pilaf. I do something similar to this for Thanksgiving stuffing so I’m sure I’d be a fan of your recipe as well.

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

OOh…. hope you’ll share your stuffing on your blog!!!

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Georgia Pellegrini October 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I love this dish, it yells “fall!” The color is perfect.

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

Thanks Georgia – well,, as they say “go big or go home!”

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marla {family fresh cooking} October 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Nancy the kids and I were celebrating this morning as we loved the hint of fall that the rain brought in :) This pilaf sounds wonderful. Love the sweet/savory flavor combo.

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

I was celebrating too! :-)!!

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lisaiscooking October 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm

It doesn’t feel at all like fall here, but we do have butternut squash at the farmers’ market. I love this mix of flavors and textures. This is a beautiful dish for fall!

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:31 am

Thanks Lisa! I know – checked weather for Dallas next week (get to see my baby boy – WOO HOO!!) forecast is for a toasty 87 degrees…

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Geez Louise October 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm

what a great day right? rainy and cool… i like the wild rice mix from traders- yum!

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:30 am

I truly LOVE the rain!!! Trader’s mix is a good one and I love the one from Sprouts too!

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Lentil Breakdown October 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I could mix the candy stripe yellow and chartreuse figs I got at the farmers’ market Sunday with your glorious creation, and we’d have all the colors of the seasons covered!

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:30 am

CANDY STRIPE FIGS??? I have GOT to get my hands on some of those pronto!! They would be fantastic in this!!

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen October 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Ha! I’m laughing b/c I got all excited when we got like 3 drops of rain these past few days. :-D I have to say, I’m ready for a little bit of fall weather.

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

Me too Sylvie!! It’s raining right now and I am wishing I didn’t have to go out -would love to just stay home and bake!!

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Esi October 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I love the fall flavors in this pilaf. The weather totally affects my cooking mood, and I am LOVING this weather right now.

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

Me too Esi – I feel that way every year!

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Sippitysup October 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Not only do I love to Pilaf, but you have helped me solve a mystery. Someone left a Napkin at my house at some food event we had here. It looks like it was yours as it is a perfect match in the picture! GREG

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:28 am

I wish it were my napkin because that means I would have been at your house!! It’s been WAY too long since I’ve seen you!!

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Judy October 5, 2011 at 5:11 am

What a lovely, colorful side dish!

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 9:28 am

Thanks Judy – have to admit, I’d have made it for the colors alone… fortunately it tastes as good as it looks!

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Cookin' Canuck October 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

What a colorful and flavorful dish, Nancy. I’m always willing to spend a little extra time on a dish if it means that it’s going to taste great. If it stretches across a couple of meals, that’s even better. By the way, I think your photos are more and more beautiful every time I visit.

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Thank you so much Dara!!! Working with Todd and Diane is rubbing off on me… learning by osmosis!!

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Brooke @ Food Woolf October 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Gorgeous photos. And thanks for the hardwork head’s up. I’ll save this one for a special occasion!

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Nancy October 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thanks Brooke! It takes a bit of time but it’s worth it!

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mjskit October 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm

The weather has gotten chilly and rainy here so this pilaf looks perfect! Love everything about it!

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Nancy October 6, 2011 at 7:55 am

Hi Mj! I love chlly, rainy weather and I agree – this is just the kind of dish I love when the weather is cold and damp!!

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Renee Fontes October 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Nancy, your rice dish looks like it would make a wonderful for stuffing for chicken or turkey breast. Pretty and perfect for fall. Thanks you!

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Nancy October 6, 2011 at 7:54 am

Hi Renee!!

Thanks – I think it would be a terrific stuffing as well!! Especially for those who have trouble with gluten!

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Lynne @ CookandBeMerry October 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Love your photo with the color-coordinated napkin. This sounds delicious with the dried cranberries and pecans. Just my kind of dish.

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Nancy October 6, 2011 at 7:52 am

Hi Lynne!!

Thanks! I am having so much fun with my photography – and this dish is really good!!!

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Cathy @ What Would Cathy Eat? October 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Fantastic recipe! I love the simplicity of it. I might try a slight variation on this (with all wild rice instead of a mix) for my Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge – which I hope you will participate in! http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2011/10/announcing-the-healthy-thanksgiving-challenge/

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Joanne October 27, 2011 at 8:56 am

It’s raining here in NYC today also and think it is perfect pilaf weather! Especially when butternut squash is in the picture.

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Nancy October 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

I think so too!! I love potatoes but sometimes it’s dishes like this that I crave the most on cold and dreary days!

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Pretty. Good. Food. October 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm

You had me at butternut squash! Sounds great :)

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Nancy November 2, 2011 at 8:31 am

Thanks Meredith!!

I love butternut squash (ok, let’s be honest here, I love ALL squashes!!). Thanks so much for stopping by!!

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Kirsten@My German Kitchen...in the Rockies October 28, 2011 at 5:50 am

The beautiful picture of your dish brought me to your site. Very pretty!
I also like the recipe of the pilaf. Thanks!
Kirsten

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Nancy November 2, 2011 at 8:29 am

Hi Kirsten!

So glad that you stopped by and that you liked the photo and the recipe!!

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ThisMamaThing November 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Just made this and am eating as I type. Absolutely delicious! It’s one of those dishes that makes you feel so good to be smack dab in the middle of fall :)

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Nancy November 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

I am so happy that you enjoyed it!!!

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Vicky March 12, 2012 at 6:22 am

Sounds like a great combination of flavors. I’ve started cooking with butternut squash a lot more recently and am always looking for different recipe to incorporate it into. Have never made wild rice though — am curious to see how it tastes!

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Nancy March 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

You are in for a treat! Wild rice has a wonderful nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture… darn, now I want some:-)!!!

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