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Hearty butternut squash rice casserole is vegetarian fall comfort food

I am a cookie-maker, baker-faker, food-taker. Errr! Picture-taker! I started to blog about food with the intent to inspire others to get back into the kitchen and start cooking.

Vegetarian butternut squash and rice casserole tastes like fall

Butternut squash rice casserole — Healthy, vegetarian, gluten free and delicious, this casserole is the perfect meal, or even side dish, to throw together for any day of the week.

There's not much better than a casserole, except for that one time when we turned it into a rice casserole with butternut squash and a topping of melting cheeses.

I'm always in danger of turning into my Mother, especially around the kitchen. There's not one recipe of hers that I do not love; and, with a few modifications, this one is no exception.

Wednesdays and Fridays were always meatless at our house, and if Mom couldn't top her rice casseroles with chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, veggies were the next choice. But, it was never squash. In fact, growing up at our house, squash was something you enjoyed roasted and sprinkled with lots of sugar — and in the fall.

Shall I say, contraire mon frere! A squash's bestie is always rice. Hands down. Don't fight me. I'm convinced.

Let me tell you: This hearty casserole provides a nice alternative to plain rice side dishes and is way healthier than those pre-packaged rice mixes.

Vegetarian butternut squash and rice casserole tastes like fall
Image: Katerina Petrovska/SheKnows

Also, this is beyond delicious. I caught myself eating it straight from my pretty, glass Pyrex dish, forgetting about the fact that I had to share it. At least I used a spoon.

As always, in this recipe I used RiceSelect's Organic Texmati White Rice, which combines the qualities of basmati rice with that of traditional American long grain rice. What's more is that this unique type of rice does not stick together, but stays firm and it separates after cooking. Therefore, instead of a mushy casserole, we end up with a fluffy, textured casserole allowing us to taste each of the flavors separately.

The butternut squash adds a sweet flavor to the dish and is bountiful this time of year. In the fall, grocery stores often carry pre-cut butternut squash cubes, which saves significant prep time. However, I prefer to buy a whole squash and prepare it in the microwave for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Vegetarian butternut squash and rice casserole tastes like fall
Image: Katerina Petrovska/SheKnows

You can serve this casserole as a side dish with chicken, or as a hearty vegetarian dish. In addition, you can also double it because this casserole is perfect for those get-togethers or the upcoming holiday meals.

Enjoy!

Vegetarian butternut squash and rice casserole tastes like fall
Image: Katerina Petrovska/SheKnows

Butternut squash rice casserole recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds) 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry RiceSelect Organic Texmati® White Rice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  •  1/2 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Coat a 9"x13" casserole dish with baking spray and set aside.
  3. Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and place the squash face-down in the 9"x13" glass baking dish.
  4. Fill the dish with about an inch of water.
  5. Microwave the squash on high for 12 minutes; check to see if the squash is soft enough. It shouldn’t be mushy!
  6. If not thoroughly cooked, microwave the squash for 5 more minutes.
  7. Carefully remove the squash from the microwave and let it stand for a few minutes to cool.
    Peel and cut it into cubes.
  8. Combine the water, broth and chopped rosemary in a saucepan; cook and bring to a boil.In the meantime, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  9. Add the onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  10. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  11. Add rice and olive oil; cook and stir for 1 minute.
  12. Stir in the broth mixture, prepared squash, parsley, seasoning salt, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil.
  13. Transfer rice mixture to previously prepared casserole dish.
  14. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  15. Sprinkle with cheese and continue to bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese melts.
  16. Remove the casserole from the oven and serve.

***If using pre-cut squash:

Season with salt and pepper; toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Vegetarian butternut squash and rice casserole tastes like fall
Image: Katerina Petrovska/SheKnows

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between RiceSelect® and SheKnows

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