Last weekend, I taught a class at the library about cooking light with spiralizing—essentially, how to incorporate more vegetables into our meals. Initially, I planned to make a spiralized butternut squash noodle dish. However, as I developed the recipe, I realized that it was much easier to stick cubed butternut squash into a food processor and create a “rice.” Making butternut squash noodles with a spiralizer is no easy feat. You need to put quite some elbow grease in there.
The rice was a big hit. The coconut and lime flavors come through very well without being too overpowering. I’ve made this dish about 5 times in the last few weeks and we love to eat it with pan-fried tofu. Feel free to add some diced bell peppers or your favorite seasonal vegetables to make a more substantial dish.
COOKING NOTES FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRIED RICE
- Use virgin coconut oil: The coconut flavor of this butternut squash fried rice depends on the type of coconut oil that’s used. You want to make sure to use coconut oil that is unrefined. They’re usually labeled as “virgin coconut oil” or “unrefined coconut oil.” If you open a container of coconut oil and the scent immediately hits you, you know you’ve got the right type. Refined coconut oils do not have enough flavor to make this dish truly fragrant.
- Using coconut milk: The first few times I cooked this recipe, I tried to use coconut milk to give the dish flavor. I found that the coconut flavor didn’t really come through that well no matter how much milk I added. Instead, it just made the fried rice more moist.
- Cook this in a large wok or pan: Because the butternut squash gives off moisture, you will want to cook this dish in a large wok or pan. If you crowd the riced butternut squash in a small pan, it will take longer to cook and the squash ends up being quite moist.
- Variations: If you are looking to fill up more, consider adding 2 cups of cooked rice to the mix. You’ll need to use 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, and you may need to add a tiny bit more lime juice and salt, depending on your taste.
MORE BUTTERNUT SQUASH RECIPES
Coconut Lime Butternut Squash Fried Rice
- 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds (1.1kg to 1.25kg) butternut squash
- 2 1/2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 2/3 cup diced yellow onion, about 1/2 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (90g) frozen peas, thawed
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped basil
- red pepper flakes
- chopped chives
- Peel the butternut squash and slice off the ends. Cut open the butternut squash and remove the seeds and strings. Chop the butternut squash into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Working in batches, add the butternut squash cubes to the food processor. Blend the squash for a few seconds. Continue pulsing the butternut squash until it is about the size of grains of rice.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the riced butternut squash. Cook the rice for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the sliced scallions, lime zest and lime juice and cook until the butternut squash has turned into a yellow-orange color, about another minute or two. Turn off the heat.
- When you are ready to serve the rice, stir in the chopped basil. Top with red pepper flakes and chopped chives, if you like.