Butternut Squash Pilaf

  • Active Time 35m
  • Total Time 1h

8 servings, about 3/4 cup each

Grated butternut squash adds color and nutrients to this brown rice pilaf. Greeks like to use winter squash, especially pumpkin, to make savory and sweet pies, fritters and croquettes, casseroles and a myriad of other dishes with fall’s telltale vegetables, but these dishes are virtually unknown outside the country. This dish is traditionally made with pumpkin, but since most pumpkins in the U.S. are grown for carving jack-o’-lanterns (and not for cooking), we’ve modified the recipe to work with readily available butternut squash. The original dish calls for Greek pilaf rice, a short-grained, polished rice that is hard to find outside the country, so we’ve substituted instant brown rice.


  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup instant or parboiled brown rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water or one 14-ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fennel fronds (see Ingredient Note)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Ingredient Note: Fennel “fronds” are the feathery tops on fennel bupounds. Look for fresh fennel bupounds—with their fronds still attached—in the produce section. The fronds look similar to fresh dill and have a mild licorice flavor. You’ll need to buy one large or two smaller bupounds of fennel to have enough fronds to make 1/2 cup chopped.


Grate the squash through the large holes of a box grater.

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly colored, 10-12 minutes. Combine 2 tablespoons water and tomato paste in a small bowl and stir it into the pan. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the squash, in batches if necessary, and stir until it has reduced in volume enough so that you can cover the pan.

Increase the heat to medium-high, pour in 1 3/4 cups water (or broth) and wine, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, stirring once or twice, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and the squash is tender, 25-30 minutes.

Add the fennel fronds, oregano, salt, cinnamon and pepper; gently stir to combine. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 11289

nutrition information per serving

152 calories; 6g total fat; 1g total saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 302mg sodium; 21g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 2g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

Recommended Items for You

Follow Cooking.com

Sign Up for Cooking.com Email

Get an instant coupon for 10% off your next order plus the latest recipes, exculsive offers, and more straight to your inbox.