Wild Rice and Acorn Squash

A quintessential autumn dish, this antioxidant-rich recipe is ridiculously easy to make.

Wild Rice and Acorn Squash
  Courtesy Image

Seasonal squash brings a punch of both flavor and antioxidants in this fall-friendly salad, while the red-hued pomegranate arils add vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, and numerous energy-boosting B vitamins. Serve alongside protein like salmon, tuna, or chicken for a well-balanced meal.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 188; protein: 4g; fat: 7.5g; carbs: 29g

Recipe and photo by Chelsey Amer, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., creator of citnutritionally.com.

Prep time

20 min.

Cook time

40 min.

  • For the squash:
  • 1 large acorn squash or 2 smaller acorn squashes, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp each of chili powder, garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp each: smoked paprika, black pepper, salt
  • For the salad:
  • 1/2 cup dry wild rice
  • 1/4 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 cup greens (pick your favorite)
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3 Tbsp pepitas
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp good-quality olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp each: black pepper, salt, dried thyme

Preheat oven to 375°. Cut acorn squash into 6 wedges, with seeds removed. You may want to cut the bottom (skin-side) of the squash so the squash wedges lie flat in your pan.

In a large bowl, combine 1 Tbsp oil, 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup, and spices [listed under “For the squash” on the ingredient list], and mix to combine. Add squash, and evenly coat the squash with this marinade.

Distribute squash on a tin foil-lined baking pan, and roast for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and cook for an addition 15-20 minutes, until tender to fork. Set aside.

While the squash is roasting, prepare rice in a small saucepan, according to package instructions. (I use a 2:1 ratio of liquid [water or vegetable stock] to rice with a pinch of salt.) When the rice is done cooking, add dried thyme, greens, and raisins to the rice. Mix to combine.

As your squash is roasting and your rice is cooking, prepare the dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to a small jar. Mix until uniform consistency forms. Set aside.

When the previous components are done, assemble your salad. Evenly divide the rice mixture on top of your roasted squash. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and pepitas on top, then drizzle with dressing. Enjoy immediately.