Monday, April 7, 2014

Back from Hiatus! Black (Forbidden) & Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

For comments, please post below or email to

Back from Hiatus! Black (Forbidden) & Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash 
Serves: 8

OK, I have been gone for a little while…still cooking but not writing. Instead, have been busy getting our new place in the desert ready. Not a big a kitchen, but that’s why they invented husbands and barbeques!!  Anyway, it is good to be back.
Have you ever made a recipe expecting it to be quite good – I mean, why else would you make it? – only to exceed your expectations? This is that kind of recipe. Look at the ingredients, great mix of flavors, much can be done earlier in the day and it’s even healthy. All good. And then, when done, you taste – it is absolutely wonderful. I made it three times shortly after the first serving, testing on different friends, all to acclaim. So make it today. You will love it. Oh – and it is vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free…just sayin. What a perfect dish for meatless Monday.

The name forbidden rice alone is enough to pull you into making this dish. Last September I included a recipe with Forbidden Rice and Red Quinoa. ( Now you have two reasons to give it a try. According to ancient Chinese legend, black rice was so rare, tasty, and nutritious that only the emperors were allowed to eat it. The rice was fabled to enrich health and ensure longevity. The black color of the uncooked forbidden rice is due to its outer coating of black bran. It is also prized for its fragrant aroma, nutty taste and nutritional value. Like brown rice, black rice is full of antioxidant-rich bran, which is found in the outer layer that gets removed during the milling process to make white rice. But only black-rice bran contains the antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which are purple and reddish pigments -- also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai -- that have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, improvements in memory, and other health benefits.

The contrast between the sweetness of the roasted butternut squash and the nutty flavor in the rice makes for a distinctive flavor. Both the pomegranate seeds and the pistachios add a crunchy layer to keep your palate wondering what might come next!
  • 1½ C black forbidden rice
  • ½ C wild rice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 med-large butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into pieces
  • ½ C olive oil (divided)
  • 2 Tb maple syrup
  • ¼ C red wine vinegar (divided)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ - ¾ C pomegranate seeds
  • 1 C micro greens or ¾ C pee shoots or mixture of cilantro & parsley or baby spinach
  • ½ C roasted pistachios, chopped
  • Other optional garnishes/additions: chevre, cooked lentils 

Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Cook black rice and wild rice in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 35-40 minutes; drain and rinse, shaking off as much water as possible. Mix 1 Tb red wine vinegar into hot cooked rice. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
Forbidden rice and wild rice cooling on a cooking sheet
Meanwhile toss squash with ¼ olive oil and the maple syrup on another baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 20-25 minutes; let cool.
Cut butternut squash with maple syrup
Butternut squash after roasting...sweet!
For the pistachios, you can either buy them pre-roasted. Alternatively, you can buy raw pistachios and place in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Watch them carefully until they are browned (see photo below).

Roasted pistachios
Whisk remainder of vinegar, honey and remaining olive oil in a large bowl.  Add black rice and wild rice, squash, scallions and pomegranate seeds. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This can now sit for several hours. Cover and chill.  Add micro greens and pistachios shortly before serving.  Substitute for micro greens include pea shoots, mix of parsley & cilantro or baby spinach.  To boost protein, you might want to add ¼- ½ C cooked lentils. To add another dimension or increase creaminess, sprinkle final dish with crumbled chevre. Simply divine. Try it today!


No comments:

Post a Comment