Butternut Squash Stuffed with Fragrant Spinach and Brown Rice

This recipe for brown rice, spinach and pecan-stuffed butternut squash is loaded with flavor and oh, so hearty. But, the best part is that it’s ready in about 30 minutes….that’s not really the best part – eating it is! Don’t you love an edible bowl, too?

Serves 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, cut horizontally, remove seeds and scoop out stringy fiber
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-1/2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon flour for thickener (I used brown rice flour, but any will work)
  • 2/3 cup brown rice (equals 2 cups cooked)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped, and extra for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. After removing the seeds and fiber-y strings from the squash, I suggest hollowing out a bit more of the squash with a spoon to make room for the yummy filling.
  2. Place the butternut squash halves cut side up onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and season with salt and ground black pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until they are fork tender.
  3. While the squash cooks, prepare the stuffing. Cook the rice according to the package directions, and set it aside.
  4. Heat sauté pan over medium heat.  When pan is hot, add onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep the onions from sticking. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute.
  5. Next, add the spinach, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, salt and ground black pepper. Stir to combine and the spinach will begin to wilt.
  6. Add all but about 2 tablespoons of the vegetable broth to the pan. Stir the mixture, and allow the broth to cook down for 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of broth to a small bowl with the flour and whisk to combine until smooth, and then add to the sauté pan to thicken the mixture.
  8. Once the liquid has cooked down a little, add the rice to the pan. Stir all together, then remove from the heat. Add in the pecan pieces, but keep about 1 teaspoon to use as garnish.
  9. Remove the butternut squash from the oven, set on individual plates and fill each equally with the rice mixture.
  10. Garnish with the remaining pecan pieces, and serve warm.