This wild rice and butternut squash salad makes a great Thanksgiving side dish because it’s colorful and a little unexpected. Since this dish is vegan and gluten-free, everyone can enjoy it!
This was our first Thanksgiving in Richmond and it was wonderful! My lovely sister in law hosted us all of us at her house and there was enough food to feed an army! I volunteered to make butternut squash, but I wanted to make something that didn’t need to be served immediately out of the oven since I knew oven space would be tight. I settled on a recipe that could be served at room temperature. I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetite and it turned out pretty well!
I love that this dish can be made in advance and it’s great for anyone with dietary restrictions. Since this dish is vegan and gluten-free, just about anyone will be able to enjoy it! I personally don’t miss the turkey on Thanksgiving because there are so many tasty side dishes!
Wild rice can be a little tricky to find, but keep an eye out for it. Sometimes you’ll have to settle for a wild rice blend, but see if you can find 100% wild rice. This will still work with a wild rice blend, but I love the crunchiness and color of all wild rice!
Here’s what it will look like if you use plain rice, instead of wild rice:
Whatever rice you use, this recipe will still be delicious! But if you can find wild rice, I love the texture it brings to this dish.
Tips for the perfect salad
- Be sure to cut the butternut squash into similar-sized pieces, so it roasts evenly.
- To remove the pomegranate arils (seeds), cut it into quarters and submerge it in water while you pry the seeds away from the pith. The seeds will float to the top of the bowl!
- I buy pre-shelled pistachios which makes this recipe come together much faster!
This side dish is perfect served chilled or at room temperature. It easily serves 12 as a side dish so you can halve the recipe if you don’t need that much!
- 2 cups uncooked wild rice
- 6 cups water
- 2 medium butternut squash
- 1 pomegranate
- 1 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp agave (or honey, if not vegan)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- Bring the water to a boil and add the rice. Simmer for 45 minutes.
- Peel and cube the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes.
- Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and spread the squash into an even layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once. (You may need to roast it a bit longer, depending on your oven. Make sure it’s a bit brown on the sides.)
- Once both are cooked, spread out the cooked rice and butternut squash onto foil and let cool.
- Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. (It’s easier if you do it while it’s submerged in water!)
- Mix together the olive oil, honey, and vinegar.
- Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
This side dish is perfect served chilled or at room temperature.
Keywords: Wild Rice Salad
We had a huge Thanksgiving dinner with my family and my sister in laws family so it was fun being together! The mashed potatoes and cornbread stuffing we’re ah-maze-ing. Who needs turkey when you have amazing side dishes?