By Crystal Grobe

Amidst all of the election buzz, we still have to eat. As much as I’ve been craving tacos, chips, and even Jucy Lucys (thanks, WCCO web staffers), I’m trying to stick on the healthy path this week. Over the weekend I went on a cooking spree and prepped five dinners so there would be no excuses when it came to dinnertime. So far so good, but then again, it’s only Tuesday.

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s squash season and I was sure to stock up, filling my kitchen counter with delicata, pumpkin, kabocha, and butternut squash. Not only does squash keep well, it doesn’t take much effort to cook. A recent New York Times recipe offered a healthy preparation for winter squash paired with a Minnesota favorite: wild rice. To make ahead of time like I did, bake the squash and cook the wild rice as directed. Let cool and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Simply reheat the squash for 10 minutes in the oven and you’re ready for dinner!

balsamic roasted squash with wild rice crystal grobe Bite Of Minnesota: Balsamic Roasted Squash & Wild Rice

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

Balsamic Roasted Winter Squash & Wild Rice Salad
(credit: New York Times, October 29th, 2012)

1 cup wild rice
3 1/2 cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
Salt to taste
2 pounds kabocha or butternut squash, peeled and cut in small dice (about 3 cups peeled and diced, weighing 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (more to taste)
1 garlic clove, minced or puréed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons walnut oil, or substitute extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, chives, tarragon
1/2 cup diced celery
1 5- or 6-ounce bag baby arugula or spinach

1. Rinse the wild rice. Bring the water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, add salt to taste and the rice. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, until the rice is tender and has begun to splay. Drain through a strainer, return to the pot and cover the pot with a clean dishtowel. Return the lid to the pot and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the squash in a bowl or directly on the baking sheet and toss with salt to taste, the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread on the baking sheet in an even layer and make sure to tip all of the liquid remaining in the bowl over the squash. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so that the squash browns evenly. The squash should be tender all the way through. Remove from the heat.

3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt to taste and mustard. Whisk in the remaining olive oil and the walnut oil.

4. Combine the wild rice, squash, herbs and celery in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Line a platter, individual plates or a wide salad bowl with the baby spinach or arugula. Top with the salad and serve.

Yield: 6 servings.


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