11 November 2013

Wild Rice with Roasted Delicata Squash, Sweet Tahini, and Pecans

I have been excited to share this dish with you because we are approaching holiday season, and this is a perfect centerpiece for any festive occasion. It is a platter of roasted Delicata squash layered over wild rice and finished with toasted pecans and a sweet tahini sauce, and man is it good. Think along the lines of a rice-stuffed squash, deconstructed.

Sometimes it is hard to make a holiday or special occasion meal that pleases all, isn't it? But if I do say so myself, this one should come pretty darn close to doing just that! This platter meal is a filling, nutritious main dish, but served as a side, vegetarians and vegans will not feel left out. It is dairy-free, grain-free, and gluten-free. But you won't even notice with the soft, sweet squash, chewy rice, nutty pecans, and creamy tahini sauce. It screams Autumn and is anything but boring. But if dairy or grains are not a concern, suggestions for substitutions are in the recipe below. 

And yes, you heard me right, this recipe is grain-free. Wild rice is actually the seed from a semi-aquatic grass! Read more about it here.  But try to choose pure wild rice, this is no time for boxed wild rice mixes.

Delicata squash is one of the easiest winter squashes to prepare because the skin is very thin and can be eaten, so there is no peeling involved. And it cooks up quickly. However, substitutions are included below if you cannot find Delicata.

I hope this platter meal finds its way onto your holiday table soon, and if it does I would love to hear from you! 

Wild Rice with Roasted Delicata Squash, Sweet Tahini Sauce, and Pecans
Serves 6-8 as a side (4-6 as a main)

Roasted Delicata squash wedges
Wild Rice
Sweet Tahini sauce
Roasted Pecans, crumbled

Pour wild rice onto a serving platter, place squash wedges on top (depending on the platter they may not all fit), and drizzle over some of the tahini sauce. Scatter around crumbled pecans, and serve with the remaining tahini sauce on the side.

Delicata Squash
Notes: Delicata squash has very tender skin that can be eaten. If you cannot find Delicata, butternut squash or sweet potato would be great substitutions. If you cannot find Chinese five spice, substitute any combination of the following spices: cinnamon, allspice, clove, ginger, cardamom, fennel, a grind of black pepper.

1/2 cup pecans
1 medium Delicata squash
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or ghee/oil with high smoke point)
1 tsp. Chinese five spice
Few pinches salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. While oven is preheating, place pecans in the oven to toast (8-10 minutes).

Quarter the squash: Cut ends off squash, halve lengthwise, scoop out seeds, then slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch wedges. Cut wedges in half.

Toss wedges with oil and seasonings. Spread on a large baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes, or until just tender.

Wild Rice
Notes: Mix it up! Black rice or a combination of black and wild rice (pictured) can be used. And for an even more festive dish, dried cranberries stirred into the cooked rice would be delicious.

2 cups wild rice
6 cups water
Few big pinches salt
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste

Bring wild rice, salt, and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan over high heat. Cover, lower heat to simmer, and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until the rice has split open and is just tender.

Drain any remaining water from rice and pour rice on a large serving platter. Stir apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper into the rice to combine.

Sweet Tahini Sauce
Notes: No miso? That's okay, just leave it out and add a pinch of salt instead. Or sub yogurt + salt.

2 Tbsp tahini paste
1 Tbsp sweet white or yellow miso
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. pure maple syrup
Juice from 1/4 lemon
2 Tbsp water
Black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. The sauce will thicken if it sits out for a while. If this happens, stir in another spoonful of water to loosen. 


  1. Oh my. This dish looks just perfect. I have a pumpkin sitting on my balcony so I think I'm going to make this soon. And I've been totally into wild rice lately. So, so good! Thank you so much for sharing. xoxo

    1. Thank you Sini! I hope you can make it, it really is a wonderful dish. Let me know how it turns out. :)

  2. We are thinking alike - once again! But rather than being similar to my recent post it is similar to one yet to be posted ;D I will wait awhile now! This recipe looks so scrummy, and I like the five spice-pecan combo - unique and delicious-sounding

    1. :-) Please post yours anyways, I know how it is to be set on sharing something at a particular time! Plus I'm now curious to see what you have done! Yes, five spice is such a yummy mix, isn't it?


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