Dramatic-looking black rice--which has a mellow, sweet taste--comes from several places in the world, including Thailand and Indonesia. If you can't find it, wild, brown, or red rice would also work (cook according to package directions).
2/3 cup black rice*
1 pound butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika*
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
How to Make It
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, and cook until rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Preheat oven to 375°. Peel and seed squash and cut into 1-in. cubes. In a large bowl, toss squash with paprika, salt, and 1 tbsp. oil. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool. Spread pecans on another baking sheet and toast until fragrant, stirring once, 6 to 8 minutes.
Whisk together remaining 2 tbsp. oil, the lemon juice, maple syrup, and pepper in a serving bowl. Toss with reserved rice, roasted squash, green onions, and most of pecans and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle with remaining pecans and pomegranate seeds.
*Find black rice and smoked Spanish paprika at Whole Foods Market or other well-stocked grocery stores.
This is one of my favorite side dishes and one I always go back to when I want a dish that will not only impress visually but wow with a variety of flavors and textures. I always go a little heavy on the maple syrup (I can't get enough) and light on the onions (my wife is not a fan of onions) but great as posted.
This recipe was way more work than it's worth. It looks beautiful but tastes kind of off. The dressing is really strange and the tastes just don't mesh too well. Honestly, the pomegrantate seeds and the pecans really save this one for me. I had it cold/lukewarm. I guess I'll try warming it up as others have suggested.
This is my new favorite recipe! So yummy! The smokiness of the paprika with the contrast of sweet squash and dressing make it a hit. Also the chewy rice and crunchy seeds and nuts are heaven to the pallet. Go make this now!!!
Fantastic salad! Delicious and beautiful! Made it for a dinner party and it was a HUGE hit with everyone, even the kids. I used a bit more squash than called for and a combo of regular paprika, nutmeg and garam masala instead of smoked paprika. If you're not familiar with black rice, it's a really tasty grain with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, so it works great in this salad. Be sure to rinse it well before cooking it. I recommend letting the salad sit for a few hours to let the flavors mix before serving.
This was a delicious salad! My husband and I loved it and I used my pressure cooker to cook the black rice even faster. Worked like a charm. We loved the blending of the flavors, the slight sweetness to the salad and plan to make it again. That was all we had for dinner and it made a great light supper! I can't wait to share it with my friends!
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