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Forbidden Rice w/ Butternut Squash & Edamame

Forbidden Rice w/ Butternut Squash & Edamame #12WeeksofWinterSquash #sidedish
Welcome to week number two of the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash! With Thanksgiving this month, I've been toying with some new side dishes to add to the this year's table. Mind you, I can't take away any of the "normal" sides lest I want mutiny to break out, but nobody ever objects to more food.

Browsing my pantry shelves led me to a container of Forbidden rice ("it's forbiiiidden!" that movie). It's been there for months. I've been waiting for inspiration, as I didn't just want to have a bowl of plain rice—even if it was prettier than most. Forbidden rice is a beautiful deep shade of inky purple once cooked. Or is it black with deep purple highlights? Either way, it feels like it was meant to be combined with some vibrant orange winter squash and shared during an autumn meal.

The addition of edamame to this rice came about last minute. The squash was already done roasting. The rice was almost ready to be fluffed. I pulled some scallions from the crisper—they were my original plan for  green flecks amongst the black and orange—only to find them limp and faded. Hmmmm, that was not going to work. So I started rummaging through the crisper and freezer for another way to add some color.

Forbidden Rice w/ Butternut Squash & Edamame #12WeeksofWinterSquash #sidedish
My fingers were crossed for an extra head of broccoli hangin' in the crisper. No such luck. My next thought was peas. I mean, I always have peas in the freezer...except this time. I hadn't replaced them after I last used them. As my hope dwindled, I moved a bag of blackberries to the side to reveal a forgotten bag of edamame. Score!

A quick dip in a bubbling jacuzzi and this rice came together perfectly. Scented with sesame and a light whisper of ginger, it would make a welcome addition to an Asian-inspired Thanksgiving menu (an accompaniment to this Five Spice Roasted Turkey from Foodie with Family that I cannot stop thinking about, perhaps). After eating it though, I can see it being a fairly filling course for the vegans at the table, as well.

Sesame-Ginger Forbidden Rice w/ Butternut Squash & Edamame
Forbidden Rice infused with garlic and sesame, then tossed with chunks of roasted butternut squash and edamame. This bold side dish would make a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving table.
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Forbidden Rice w/ Butternut Squash & Edamame
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Keywords: roast simmer side dairy-free nut-free sugar-free vegan squash sesame seeds rice edamame Thanksgiving American fall winter

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 1 cup forbidden rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1" chunk of ginger, peeled & grated
  • 8 ounces butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup cooked, shelled edamame
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • sea salt, as needed
  • ground white pepper, as needed
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and set aside.

Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well. Place into a medium pot with the water, ginger, and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to the lowest heat you can get and simmer for 35 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

In the meantime, peel and seed the butternut squash. Cut it into 1/2-inch dice. Toss with olive oil and a few big pinches of salt and white pepper. Spread on prepared baking sheet. Slide into preheated oven and roast for 15-18 minutes, stirring halfway through, until just tender (not mushy). Allow to cool to room temperature while the rice is doing the same thing.

Use a fork to fluff the rice, then turn it out into a large bowl. Stir the sesame oil and rice vinegar together, then drizzle over the rice and toss to distribute. Carefully fold in the reserved squash, edamame, and sesame seeds. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.

Serve at room temperature.
Forbidden Rice w/ Butternut Squash & Edamame #12WeeksofWinterSquash #sidedish

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