The Wild Rice with Roasted Winter Squash is a great recipe that is bursting with flavors, a vibrant color, and texture. This cozy vegetarian comfort food for fall can be served as a hearty rice side dish or a satisfying and rich main dish.
This dish is perfectly balanced with complimentary flavors and textures while still being healthy and wholesome. It makes for an easy side or meal any time of year but is a great addition to your Thanksgiving recipes.
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What is Wild Rice?
Wild Rice is an aquatic grass like long grain rice which is gluten-free, high in protein and fiber, and low in calories. It has a brownish-blackish color and has a stronger and nuttier flavor than white rice or brown rice.
It’s commonly grown in the Great Lakes region of North America and was originally grown and harvested by Native Americans. This rice has excellent texture and is a highly nutritious grain that can substitute for any dish that needs rice including rice pilaf. Pilaf is a rice dish in which rice is cooked with stock (veggie or meat) to bring out the flavor of the rice.
Wild rice must grow in a controlled wet environment which is why it’s more expensive than conventional rice and why it is often found in the grocery store as a “wild rice blend”.
If it’s your first time preparing long grain just know that wild rice cooks a bit longer than white or brown rice but it’s absolutely worth it. The liquid ratio is also different as it’s a 3:1 liquid: wild rice ratio.
Why you’ll love this Wild Rice Recipe
- Filled with much flavor: This is a unique and super delicious meal that will tantalize your taste buds. It’s a savory dish exploding with flavor and texture.
- Vibrant color: The orange-hued winter squash, wild rice, and pecans make this a colorful dish and one of my favorite recipes.
- Versatile recipe: It can be served warm, chilled, or at room temperature. It tastes even better the next day or third day making it perfect for meal prep.
- Perfect for vegetarians: This Wild Rice and butternut squash recipe is a great addition for vegetarians on the holiday table.
- Use your favorite winter squash: Hubbard, butternut and acorn squash are all kinds of winter squash. Pick your favorite to use in this recipe.
- Simple dressing: To allow the flavors of the roasted winter squash and other ingredients to shine.
Key Ingredients to Make Wild Rice with Roasted Winter Squash
- Wild rice: These rice grains have a rich and nutty flavor with a crunchy texture
- Winter squash: Roasting the winter squash brings out its creamy texture.
- Chicken broth, or vegetable broth: Brings out bold and vibrant flavors of the wild rice.
- Butter: Used to add sweetness to the wild rice when cooking it.
- Dried thyme: Adds a distinct earthy and slightly minty flavor to the dish.
- Chopped pecans: Add bursts of nutty crunch to the recipe
- Chopped Italian parsley (or curley): Its mild herbal flavor is a great addition to the dish.
Along with these, you’ll need olive oil, sea salt, salt, and black pepper.
Key Ingredients for the dressing
- Red wine vinegar: The distinct sharp and tangy yet, mildly sweet flavor adds a unique, savory flavor to the dressing.
- Maple syrup: Adds a sweet flavor to the dressing.
- Crumbled goat cheese for topping (optional): Adds a creamy, salty tang to the dressing.
Along with these, you’ll need olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
How to Make Wild Rice with Roasted Winter Squash
Step 1: Cook the wild rice
- Put cold water in a medium pot and bring broth, butter, salt, thyme, and wild rice to a rolling boil on medium heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes until rice becomes slightly puffed up. Drain off excess liquid and allow it to cool a bit.
2: Prepare oven and baking sheet
- While rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
3: Prepare the winter squash
- Wash, peel, and cube the winter squash and add the squash cubes to the large sheet pan in a single layer.
4: Drizzle and bake the squash cubes
- Drizzle with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper, and roast for 40 minutes or until soft, fork tender, and slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes. Toss squash until evenly coated then line in an even layer.
5: Mix the rest of the ingredients
- Add chopped pecans, chopped parsley, wild rice, and roasted butternut squash to a large bowl and mix well.
6: Prepare the dressing
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper until combined.
7: Add dressing to the rice mixture
- Pour dressing over the rice mixture and mix well.
8: Garnish and serve
- Top with optional crumbled goat cheese. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
How to store leftover wild rice pilaf recipe
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, warm rice in an oven at 350 F oven temperature or in an air fryer.
- The cooking time may vary so add water if rice has absorbed all the liquid and is still not done cooking.
- You can substitute the chopped pecans with almonds, pistachios, or pepitas.
- If you use a wild rice blend, be sure to follow the package directions on the box.
- You can save some time by buying pre-chopped squash.
- Make sure the winter squash roasts on an even layer so they can cook properly.
Wild rice is healthier than both brown rice and white rice as it contains more fiber and protein. It also contains more zinc, and potassium, antioxidants and is also significantly higher in folate and most other B vitamins. It also has fewer calories than brown rice.
This is a wild rice mixture made up of an exciting blend of grains of rice, which give you complementary firm, fluffy cooked textures and robust, nutty, earthy vibrant flavors.
It normally includes a mix of wild rice, brown rice, and a few other grains for color and variety, such as red rice, black rice, and white rice. You can find wild rice blends pre-packaged in a bag or box.
Wild rice is very simple to cook. The most basic way to cook rice is to boil, cover, then simmer gently on the stove until done, much like traditional rice. What is different is the rice-to-liquid ratio and the length of time it takes to cook. Typically it is a 3:1 liquid: wild rice ratio for cooking and takes 45-60 minutes to fully cook.
While this is a vegetarian dish you can add your favorite meat choice such as chicken, sausage, or lean ground beef. You can also add meat to the leftovers for different flavors.
How to serve the Wild Rice with Roasted Winter Squash
This is a delicious meal on its own or you can serve it as a side dish alongside baked chicken drumsticks or chicken wings. It is also the perfect side to serve at your Thanksgiving holiday dinner. Some other holiday sides to serve are Gluten-Free Apple Crisp with Ice Cream, Hearty Turkey Soup, Russian Walnut Roll and mashed potatoes.
More Rice Recipes
- The Fried Cauliflower Rice with Veggies recipe is both delicious and healthy and the perfect breakfast food.
- The Veggie Bowl with Rice and Guacamole is tasty, has a vibrant color, and has so much nutritional goodness
- This Chicken and Bell Peppers Rice Bowl with Spices is a great and simple recipe that makes for a perfect summer comfort food or a great weeknight meal.
Other Rice Recipes to Try
If you tried this Wild Rice and Roasted Winter Squash Salad or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you enjoyed it in the📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!
Wild Rice and Roasted Winter Squash Salad
- 3 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp butter
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup wild rice
Roasting Winter Squash
- 3 cups winter squash, peeled & cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ – 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 dash black pepper
Rest of the Ingredients
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup Italian parsley, fresh and chopped
- goat cheese, crumbled, for topping, optional
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- 1 dash black pepper
- Bring broth, butter, salt, thyme, and wild rice to a rolling boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes until rice becomes slightly puffed up. Drain off excess liquid and allow to cool a bit.3 cups chicken broth,, 3 Tbsp butter, ½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp dried thyme, 1 cup wild rice
- While rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add peeled and cubed squash, drizzle with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper, and roast for 40 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes.3 cups winter squash,, 2 Tbsp olive oil, ½ – 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 dash black pepper
- Add chopped pecans, chopped parsley, wild rice and winter squash to a bowl mix well.1 cup wild rice, 1 cup pecans,, 1 cup Italian parsley,, 3 cups winter squash,
- In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, ¾ tsp sea salt, 1 dash black pepper
- Pour dressing over rice mixture, mix well, and serve. Top with optional crumbled goat cheese.goat cheese,
- While this recipe is great as it, you can also substitute the wild rice for quinoa.