Creamy butternut squash brown rice uses a side dish to make this a cinch for a weeknight side dish! Plus, check out my sweet and savory ideas for variations.
I’m a sucker for a winter squash. I don’t discriminate either, I love them all! So hearty, so warm and filling, and yet light and nutritious. What’s not to love?
Umm… the cutting. The feeling that I may lose a finger or a hand every time I wield a knife near a spaghetti squash or butternut squash or acorn squash. Now, it certainly can be worth it. I have a kale and acorn squash salad coming your way soon that’s seriously delicious. (Sign up for my free email newsletter here so you don’t miss it!)
But some nights, if my little ones are running around the kitchen like wild maniacs, and I’m distracted by screaming voices and work emails and a hungry dog and the pressing need to cook dinner, well, I don’t really want to press my luck and try to cut up a huge squash.
So I cheat. I buy frozen pureed butternut squash. (Mine is labeled “cooked winter squash.”) It’s right there in your freezer section and it makes this dish so creamy and so easy.
I first discovered this little gem when I was making my own homemade baby food. It has nothing added to it, so it’s completely clean, but it saves me all of the work of peeling, cutting, cooking and pureeing a butternut squash. Such a life saver!
(Though of course you can absolutely buy a whole squash, roast and puree it to use for this recipe.)
J still loves his frozen butternut squash puree. He’s 2 now and I swear, would eat the entire 10 oz. package if I let him.
This butternut squash brown rice recipe, though, is rounded out with some brown rice that’s cooked in a flavorful broth and a pinch of nutmeg to give it an undertone of warmth and spice. Very subtle, but very tasty. And oh so creamy!
It’s great for a weeknight side dish any time, but it’s also a lovely addition to a Thanksgiving, Christmas or holiday spread.
2 variations for butternut squash brown rice:
- Make it sweet: Stir 1 tablespoon maple syrup into the butternut squash puree before adding it to the rice mixture.
- Make it savory: Top each serving of rice with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.
It’s delicious any way you decide to serve it and perfect for the cooler months.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups brown rice
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 (10-oz.) package of frozen butternut (or winter) squash puree
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus extra, to taste
- Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, until tender.
- Add rice and stir to get it coated in the oil and mixed with the onion.
- Stir in 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil (I crank the heat up to high to make this happen faster), reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 30-35 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.
- Meanwhile, defrost frozen butternut squash in the microwave, according to package directions. (Mine takes 5 minutes, covered in a microwave-safe bowl).
- Let it rest for a minute, then remove carefully (it will be HOT!) and stir in nutmeg, salt and black pepper.
- Once rice is cooked, season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Stir in butternut squash mixture and combine.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Try these two variations:
* Make it sweet: Stir 1 tablespoon maple syrup into the butternut squash puree before adding it to the rice mixture.
* Make it savory: Top each serving of rice with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 692mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 13g