I think it’s finally safe to say that fall is in the air around here! Red and orange leaves are scattered on the ground, yellow and fuchsia mums decorate nearly every porch on the block, and I’ve traded in my sandals and tank tops for slip on Chucks and a denim jacket. Coincidentally the 80s called and want their fashion trends back.
Trips to the grocery store are almost too adorable to bear right now too. Sugar pumpkins, mini squash, and lumpy gourds greet us at almost every turn of the cart, begging me to take them home. Alas, I have no design sense and they’d just sit in an awkward pile on my table.
One fall favorite I DO know what to do with though, is the abundance of squash sitting next to the wee pumpkins. Come to Mama, Wild Rice Harvest Bowls with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette!
Wild Rice Harvest Bowls
I’m over the moon for this beautiful, delicious dish and am so excited to share it with you today, especially, because you can make it over the weekend then pack the leftovers for easy, healthy lunches all next week – this dish holds up beautifully in the fridge!
What’s inside: hearty wild rice is tossed with my favorite fall food pairings – roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts, chopped apples and cheddar cheese, chewy dried cranberries and crunchy almonds, drizzled with homemade, sweet and tangy Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette. The results are outstanding. If you like wild rice salads then you’ll love this fall version that’s full of craveable flavors and textures.
I did keep these bowls meatless but feel free to add pair with seared chicken or pork tenderloin for even more staying power.
Now go forth and make Wild Rice Harvest Bowls with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette – aka one of the best ways (besides Sparkling Maple Bourbon Ciders) to celebrate this fabulous and delicious season!
How to Make this Recipe
Start by cooking a wild/brown rice blend in chicken broth according to package directions. I love Lundberg Wild Blend Rice – it’s what I use for my Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, too! Spread the rice out onto a plate to cool slightly or make a day ahead of time and refrigerate.
While the rice is cooking, prep a small butternut squash.
Slice the top and bottom off the butternut squash then slice the squash in half lengthwise and use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin from the long neck.
I prefer to use a sharp knife to peel the bulb end, like slicing the rind off a watermelon, as it’s easier to follow the curve, vs trying to hack away at it with a peeler.
Slice the squash into planks, then each plank into strips, and finally each strip into 1″ cubes.
By the way, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s so funny how different individual squash can be! The one I sliced into to photograph for this recipe was bright yellow (Lincoln asked if it was cheese!) and not extremely sweet, while the one I used for this recent Roasted Balsamic Butternut Squash was sweet as candy and pumpkin-orange. Shrug!
Measure out 3 cups of 1″ cubes then add to a silpat or nonstick sprayed foil-lined baking sheet and toss with extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, chili powder, and cinnamon, plus lots of salt and pepper.
Roast the butternut squash for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, stirring halfway through. After stirring, put the squash back into the oven along with a sheet pan of shredded brussels sprouts tossed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. The brussels sprouts will get nice and crispy in 8-10 minutes, which means they should be done at the same time the squash is – weewho!
Let both the squash and brussels sprouts cool slightly – you can also roast both a day ahead of time.
By the way, I am totally digging these pre-shredded brussels sprouts for this dish. I find them to be too thick for salads with raw brussels sprouts, but they’re the perfect thickness for roasted dishes and save SO much prep time.
Once the rice, squash and brussels sprouts have slightly cooled, add them to an enormous bowl with chopped apples, cubed white cheddar cheese, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds. Pepitas would be fantastic in place of the almonds, they’re just really hard to find gluten-free.
Last step is to drizzle on homemade Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette (which is as good as it sounds!) then toss to coat. That’s extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fig jam (I like Dalmatia – usually found in the speciality meats/cheeses section of the grocery store,) minced garlic clove, salt, and pepper shaken together in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
Eat right away or portion into containers to eat for delicious lunches all week long. Enjoy, enjoy!
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Wild Rice Harvest Bowls with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Wild Rice Harvest Bowls with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette are full of healthy, fall-inspired ingredients. Make a big batch then enjoy for lunch all week long!
- 1 cup wild-brown rice blend (I recommend Lundberg)
- 1-3/4 cup gluten-free chicken broth
- 3 cups 1” butternut squash cubes (about 1 small squash)
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon each garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon
- salt and pepper
- 9oz thinly shredded brussels sprouts
- 1 large or 2 small apples, chopped
- 3oz white cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds or pepitas
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- For the Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, microplaned or minced
- 2 Tablespoons fig jam
- salt and pepper
- Add rice and chicken broth to a small saucepan then bring to a boil, place a lid on top, then turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes or until rice is al dente (verify liquid amount and cooking method with rice package directions.) Set aside to cool slightly - can be done a day ahead of time.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with a silpat or foil then spray with nonstick spray if using foil. Add butternut squash cubes, 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper then toss with your fingers to evenly coat. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until squash is tender, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool slightly - can be done a day ahead of time.
- Meanwhile, line another half sheet pan with a silpat or foil then spray with nonstick spray if using foil. Add shredded brussels sprouts, remaining 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper then toss with your fingers to evenly coat. Add to oven after stirring the squash then roast together for 8-10 minutes or until brussels sprouts are tender and golden brown.
- For the Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette: Combine ingredients in a bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid then whisk or shake to combine (might need to microwave for 15-20 seconds to help melt the fig jam.) Taste then add more salt, pepper, and/or fig jam if desired.
- In a large bowl combine cooked rice, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, apples, cheese, almonds, and dried cranberries. Drizzle Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette on top then toss to coat and serve. Leftovers are good for 3-4 days.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.