I craft a lot, a lot of recipes. And I’m always dreaming up more in my mind. Yet, every year, Thanksgiving comes around, and rarely do I have a clue of what I’m going to make.
Usually, the winning idea arrives last minute (fashionably late). Often, it’s after a few Google searches, and several emails from my sister inquiring about what I’ll be bringing to the family feast. Usually she gives up. And often I show up with a surprise. Which means, it needs to be good. Great. Worthy of all turkey-eaters to save some vegetarian room on their plate.
This year, I was given some time in advance to think. Well, actually, required to set aside some time to choose a Thanksgiving dish to share recipe.
I hosted a Friendsgiving this past weekend, which was perfect for practicing my holiday cooking skills before the real deal rolls around.
This heaping bowl of thyme-infused rice and squash goodness got gobbled up in no time. If I had to give it an alternate name, I’d call it Healthful Holiday Party-in-a-Bowl. It’s a true celebration of fall’s best festive flavors.
Here, nutty rice pairs with creamy squash and a sweet-meets-tart punch of flavor from the cranberries. Buttery, pan-roasted pecans add a crunch, while thyme drives that classic Thanksgiving feel that we all know and love. I sautéed the onion in butter to richen things up, and finished it off with parsley to add a complimentary freshness. The result, as previously mentioned, is a T-day party-in-a-bowl. Are you ready to celebrate?
If you’re not sure what you’re bringing to the Thanksgiving table yet, I’m throwing this into the recommendation hat. It serves as a great vegetarian main dish that leaves you satisfied with all of its festive goodness.
If you do have a recipe already picked out, this needn’t be reserved solely for the holidays. Healthy and wholesome, I’ll certainly be bringing this to the table again this season. Cheers.
- 1 1/2 cups wild rice mix (you could use all wild rice; I did a mix of wild rice, red rice, and brown rice)
- 1 lg. kabocha squash, seeds removed, cubed
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsp. thyme
- Slightly heaping 1/2 cup cranberries, soaked in warm water
- 3 Tbsp. butter (if vegan, swap for EVOO)
- 1 lg. onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3-4 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
- 3/4 cup pecans, toasted
- Add rice to a pot with 4 cups of water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and let cook for 50 minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit another 10 minutes. Then transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. While rice is still warm, toss with thyme.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F, and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place kabocha cubes on the aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to lightly coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let bake 20 minutes, or until squash is soft. Remove from oven.
- In a small skillet, heat butter. Add onion and garlic, and saute until onion is translucent. Transfer all the contents of the skillet into the bowl with the rice. Toss to combine. Add parsley, pecans, and a generous pinch of pepper. Continue to toss until ingredients are well distributed. Gently stir in the squash. Taste, and adjust salt if needed. (If using salted butter, likely it won't need much more salt. If using olive oil, it will.) Garnish with fresh parsley on top and serve.