Butternut squash is not only delicious, it’s also full of nutrition. Stuff the halves with a healthy mixture of brown rice, pistachios, and dried cherries seasoned with cumin and cinnamon, and you have a phenomenal explosion of flavors. It’s a great option for vegetarians or for a meatless Monday meal with very little clean-up.
Feel free to vary the dried fruits and/or nuts.
The Author Says: “Dried cherries, pistachios and ready-cooked rice make an easy, flavorful stuffing. Roasted butternut squash is the perfect cooking vessel, with extra-easy cleanup!” –Camilla V. Saulsbury
Persian Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash Recipe
2 butternut squash, halved lengthwise
4 Tablespoons (60 mL) olive oil, divided use
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper (sweet capsicum), chopped
1 package (12 ounces/375 g) frozen brown rice, thawed
3/4 cup (175 mL) roasted pistachios or almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped green onions (scallions)
1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped dried cherries
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon (3 mL) ground cumin
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line an 18- by 13-inch (45 by 33 cm) rimmed sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
Using a metal spoon, scrape out seeds and membranes from squash halves. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh. Place squash, cut side up, on prepared pan, spacing evenly. Brush cut sides with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 35 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and add red pepper alongside squash. Drizzle pepper with 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) oil. Roast for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine rice, pistachios, green onions, cherries, cinnamon, cumin and the remaining oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove pan from oven and spoon rice mixture into squash cavities. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes or until squash is fork-tender and stuffing is warmed through.
Yield: 4 servings
•If packaged frozen rice is not available, substitute 2 cups (500 mL) cooled cooked brown rice.
Recipe Source: “200 Best Sheet Pan Meals: Quick and Easy Oven Recipes One Pan, No Fuss!” by Camilla V. Saulsbury (Robert Rose)
Reprinted with express permission.