Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf

Cranberry and Squash Pilaf

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf
From A Communal Table

While I highly doubt that any of my lovely, intelligent, well-prepared readers would still be in search of a Thanksgiving side dish 24 hours before the big meal, I figured just in case, I’d post this fabulous pilaf.  Really, if I’d known about it earlier, I’d have posted it well before the holiday, but such is life.  This past weekend I was in search of a good room temperature dish that I could serve at my work Thanksgiving potluck.  Ideally I needed something with a low food-poisoning likelihood, since despite working at hospital, we like to forego common food safety wisdom and leave potluck food out in the break room from 9am until 5pm.  And one glance in there at 5 and I assure you, people will be chowing down on the scraps with abandon (and hopefully a strong stomach!).  I had a bunch of black rice I was looking to get rid of, as well as a GIANT butternut squash that had already been used in two other dishes but still lingered in my fridge.  So pilaf if was!  As it turns out, it was a big hit, from 9am right up until the end.  And as far as I can tell, no food poisoning cases to report…yet!

Have a fabulous and DELICIOUS Thanksgiving, everyone!



  • 1 cup wild rice blend (I used 1/2 black rice, 1/2 wild rice because that’s what I had, but most stores sell wild rice blends that would work perfectly)
  • 2 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cubed into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped


  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (ideally fresh squeezed)
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice (ideally fresh squeezed)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon


  1. Start by cooking your rice according to package directions, using the stock instead of water.  I used a rice cooker, so I just combined the two and let the machine work its magic.
  2. While the rice cooks, roast the squash.  Toss squash cubes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until easily pierced by a fork.
  3. While squash roasts, caramelize the onions.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add onions and a pinch of salt and saute until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  4. Combine rice, squash, onions, pecans, cranberries and parsley.  Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.  Toss with the pilaf.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8.

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One Response to Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf

  1. Doreen Dodero says:

    Maybe I will try this with sweet potatoes. I now realize baking 6 sweet potatoes will go untouched at Thanksgiving. When I asked why, the response was no room left on the plate. This might be an easy and good use for them.

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