Turning vegetables into "rice" is all the rage these days and I, personally, love it. I think the trend started with cauliflower which is an amazingly versatile vegetable and also one of my favorites. But, as it turns out, most firm vegetables can be turned into rice and the technique is ideal for keeping meals lower in calories and carbs and high in nutrition.
I've turned beets, sweet potatoes and parsnips into rice and all did great. But butternut squash is my seasonal love. It's a winter squash that's sweet and loaded with nutrients and I probably eat my way through massive amounts of it in the fall. So it's only natural to put it to the rice test as well. Because it's a firm vegetable, it rices very easily. And the smaller shapes help it to cook up quickly.
Dispatching a large butternut squash can seem like a daunting task but once you get the hang of it, the process moves quickly and easily. A vegetable peeler and sharp knife are the two main tools needed to make the task easy. If it still seems too arduous, you can also buy the pre-cut squash that's now available in most large markets. The pieces are usually the perfect size to throw into the food processor without needing to do any peeling or chopping.
This recipe is also a one skillet dish so there's less clean up, always a favorite concept of mine. I prep the squash while the onions saute and then some quick stirring and seasoning results in a tasty and healthy side dish.
- 1 Large butternut squash, peeled and seeded
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Small onion, peeled and small diced
- 1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Teaspoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 Cup slivered almonds
Add the olive oil and diced onion to a large skillet. Saute over medium low heat for a few minutes, until the onions become translucent.
Peel the butternut squash and cut in half with a sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then cut the squash into small chunks. Working in batches, add a few of the chunks to a food processor and pulse a few times until you get a rice-like size and consistency.
Add the riced butternut squash to the pan with the onion and continue sauteing for a few minutes until the squash softens a bit but doesn't become mushy.
Season with the garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and top with the slivered almonds.