Wild Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash

I know it isn't Thanksgiving yet, but it is Fall, which also happens to be my favorite season and by my rules you can eat Thanksgiving inspired food all Fall long. I am one of those people that Pinterest makes fun of with all their pumpkin memes; the second Summer passes and I can start making orange fleshed things I am on it! Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, persimmon- orange is my food color! This is a great, healthy, pretty, and  easy side dish with lots of presentation wow factor and would make a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or any other Fall meal. I used wild rice for the color and the texture it provides but you can also use quinoa, brown or white rice,wheat berries or lentils or a combination of a few of them. Either it way it will taste and look fresh and delicious. Enjoy!

2 butternut squash, halved, seeds scooped out
1 cup wild rice
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
3 Tbl olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup dried cranberrries
1/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans (optional)
2 Tbl freshly chopped parsley
salt, pepper, granulated garlic

Preheat the oven to 375. Drizzle some oil over the squash halves, season them with salt and pepper and roast in the oven till just tender about 30 minutes and then let the squash cool.

While the squash is cooking, rinse the wild rice and then put it in pot with the stock or water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 35-45 minutes until the rice is tender but still has a little bite and some of the grains have popped open. Drain the rice and cool.

In a saute pan, heat the 3 Tbl olive oil and saute the onion, celery and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper until the vegetables are soft.

Once the squash is cool, gently scoop out the flesh leaving some to line the squash skin. Cube the squash and place it in a bowl. Add the rice, onion mixture with its oil, cranberries, toasted pecans and parsley and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic to your taste and mix gently. Gently place the mixture back into the squash halves and serve. Best served lightly warmed or room temperature.


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